C O M P L I M E N TA R Y M A G A Z I N E MAR / APR 2020 VOL47
WINES OF THE
Swartland wines | B&W spirits | Dark beers | Movies & television through the ages | NSRI & responsibility
INDEPENDENCE RULES! MARVELLOUSLY MONOCHROME SPIRIT BRANDS
TASTING: SWARTLAND SHIRAZ
WIN! A COPY OF THE BOOK
THE GOLDEN AGE OF MOVIES RECALLED
BY IZELLE HOFFMAN
Mar | Apr 2020|47
NOT ON YOUR TELLY! HOW TV HAS EVOLVED
DARK & LOVELY STOUT BREWS TO SOOTHE THE SOUL
PERFECT SERVE: BLACK RUSSIAN w w w. t o p s a t s p a r. c o . z a
Not For Persons Under The Age Of 18. Drink Responsibly.
F RO M T H E E D I TO R
cheers TOPS at SPAR Group Promotions & Advertising Manager – Liquor Jess Nicholson Group Advertising Controller – Liquor Nicole Hesom
am fascinated with how things work. There is barely an episode of How Things Are Made that I can resist. I’ve been known to watch ice hockey sticks and motorcycle helmets being fabricated, chocolate-covered digestives baked and even how toothpaste gets into the tube... The creative and practical engineering souls who can dream up and design how to coordinate automatic processes like bottling lines or industrial processes have me in awe! Personally, I think it began with a book that I absolutely loved as a child. It was Richard Scarry’s “What do people do all day?” and introduced me to a wonderful cast of characters such as Lowly Worm, Mayor Fox, Huckle Cat, Captain Salty, Lookout Louie and others. They got to do things like building a house, farming maize (Farmer Alfalfa in his dungarees!), tarring a road and a voyage on a ship. The illustrations were richly detailed and much of what I know about house construction is due to the foundations being laid by that book. So it was a genuine treat to head out to the Hemel-en-Aarde valley, to a farm along the Tesselaarsdal road. Behind the mountain ridges between Stanford and Hermanus is a farm distillery. It’s surrounded by fields of aromatic Rose Geranium – a special clone of the plant imported from Turkey. There are
Spearmint Geranium, rosemary and other highly scented plants cultivated too, because this distillery is primarily for the extraction of essential oils for the cosmetics industry. Yet this little distillery is branching out to make other products – and it all started with gin. Being able to see the processes and equipment involved in the distillation provides a much greater appreciation of the products when they’re tasted an hour later. The variety of flavours they are capable of infusing the gin with is remarkable. One gin celebrated South African fynbos, another was more citrussy while a third made the most of the beautiful perfume of the Rose Geranium. It also made me appreciate anew the skill of the distiller in knowing when to make the cuts, discarding the volatile head and tail and only keeping the heart of the distillation. At the moment, this little operation is focussed on its primary essential oil business, while doing a bit of contract distillation for private clients on the side. Naturally, the gin is just the beginning: already a rum is in tank and a whisky has been in barrel for a year. It has another two years to age before it can be legally called whisky. I look forward to the day it’s bottled because it’s a very exciting product – and I’ve seen how it’s made. Cheers
FIONA MCDONALD CHEERS EDITOR
INTEGRATED MEDIA Publisher Shayne Dowling firstname.lastname@example.org Editor Fiona McDonald email@example.com Art Director Claire Horner firstname.lastname@example.org Advertising Shayne Dowling email@example.com PR & Promotions Dee Griffin firstname.lastname@example.org Photography iStockphoto.com Contributors Clifford Roberts, Josephine Bestic, Gerrit Rautenbach, Teresa Ulyate, Emile Joubert, Winnie Bowman, Gareth George, Patrick Leclezio, Greg Landman. Head Office Cape Town Tel: 021 685 0285 Address Suite WB03 Tannery Park 23 Belmont Road, Rondebosch, 7700 Postal Address PO Box 259, Rondebosch, 7701 Printing Novus Print Published by Integrated Media for TOPS at SPAR
STOCKISTS SPAR Good Living items are available at your nearest SPAR outlets. COMPETITION TERMS AND CONDITIONS Competition submissions should reach us no later than 15th April 2020. The Prize/s is as indicated, no alternatives or cash will be provided. The decision of Integrated Media will be final and no correspondence will be entered into. Under no circumstances shall Integrated Media, TOPS at SPAR, SPAR or its appointed representatives and the prize donors be liable to anyone who enters these Prize Draws for an indirect or consequential loss howsoever arising which may be suffered in relation to the Prize Draws. By entering these competitions you make yourself subject to receiving promotional information. Entrants are deemed to have accepted these terms and conditions. Prize Draw Rules: The prize draw is only open to consumers who must be over 18 years of age and resident in South Africa. Employees of Integrated Media and TOPS at SPAR, SPAR and their respective advertising, media and PR agencies, as well as the family members, consultants, directors, associates and trading partners of such organisations and persons are ineligible for the draw. Participants can only win one competition every three issues.
@CheersMag MAR/APR 2020
M A R /A PR 2020 VO L4 7
WHEATFIELDS & WINE The Swartland’s liquid treasure
features 20 TASTING: SWARTLAND SYRAH
28 SPIRIT NAMES
FROM THE EDITOR
Appreciating how things work
Not quite so black ’n white
32 FOR THE STOUT OF HEART
From Gerard Butler’s Windhoek shoot to cocktail trends and even SAB’s ecofriendly electric delivery vehicles.
52 BACK CAST
26 PERFECT SERVE
Reviewing the fishing year
Smooth, dreamy Black Russians
56 REEL ACTION
38 HOT BITES
Brandy cocktails to Thai salads
62 WET & WILD
40 BOOK GIVEAWAY
Rescue at sea with the NSRI
Mindful Eating – Izelle Hoffman
66 TELEVISION TIME
44 IRISH EYES
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Emile Joubert’s recipe suggestions 46 BLOGSPOT
Monochrome munchies 50 WHAT’S ON & WHERE
Your diary guide to great events 59 THINGAMAJIGS
Whotsits & doodads to die for!
Check out Cheers magazine online
60 SEEN & HEARD
The latest in books, music & movies 69 APPS
Decoding streaming services 71 NEXT ISSUE
The taste of Japan 72 LOOPDOP
Die Margate meisie
WIN! A COPY OF THE BOOK
BY IZELLE HOFFMAN
M MA R / A P R 2 0 2 0
THE SCOOP CHILLED POPS There are some drawbacks to adulting – and enjoying simple childhood pleasures is one of them. It’s still possible to enjoy water pistol fights without anyone getting hurt but slides, swings and merry-go-rounds are just not cool for grown ups! What is cool – uber-cool, in fact – are Frost Popsicles which come in a range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic flavours. Nine in total: six boozy and three guiltfree flavours. Naturally the G&T (gin and tonic) is a hot favourite during the last warm days of summer
GLASS OF CHEER FOR ISLAY February saw work begin on the demolition of old warehouses and outbuildings at legendary Islay whisky distillery, Port Ellen, all part of the £35 million (R665 million) refurbishment and rejuvenation process announced by owners Diageo in 2017. This distillery last saw any work undertaken there around 40 years ago when the plant was mothballed in 1983 during the downturn in the global whisky industry. As a result of the distillery being out of production, bottles of Port Ellen were highly prized and changed hands on the secondary market for big money. 4 w w w .t o p s a t s p a r. c o . z a
in South Africa, but there is also a seriously refreshing passionfruit & peach margarita and blood orange screwdriver that is a citrus explosion in the mouth. The three non-alcoholic flavours include pomegranate, grapefruit & hibiscus; peach, strawberry & banana and finally, vanilla coffee. The entire range is made from all-natural ingredients – no artificial flavourings, colourants or sweeteners. And they’re also low in calories, dairy-free and vegan-friendly. How’s that for being able to chill with a tasty popsicle and a clear conscience?
With the spirit becoming increasingly rare as the supply of hoarded stock dwindled, prices soared and it was not uncommon for collectors and whisky enthusiasts to pay £1 000 (R20 000) for a bottle from the 70s or early 80s. The first “fresh” whisky to flow from the new stills at Port Ellen is likely to hit the market in 2032 after a full 12 years of maturation. Only then will fans of this spirit know whether the new Port Ellen whisky is as good as the old. Some experts have their doubts because when the plant was mothballed Diageo repurposed some of the equipment at other distilleries, but more importantly, they destroyed the original stills! Only time will tell if this Islay treasure will be able to live up to its esteemed billing.
REALLY GENUINE, HEY! Rugged Scots actor Gerard Butler is recognisable for some of the mega successful movies he’s starred in, such as 300 (“I AM SPARTA!”), Olympus Has Fallen, London Has Fallen, Hunter Killer and even the comedies, Bounty Hunter and The Ugly Truth. But he’s now starring in a beer commercial on local television screens – for Windhoek Lager, urging beer lovers to Keep It Real. “I loved the (Windhoek) script, I found it very funny, and the humour was right up my alley,” Butler said. Maggie Wang, senior brand manager for Windhoek beer explains: “Windhoek champions those who stay true to themselves. Those who show up, in their most authentic self. Those who know what’s important. Those who keep it real. We found these qualities in Gerard Butler, and we were thrilled that he felt an immediate synergy with what our brand stands for.” The TV commercial opens in a bar – much like any other traditional beer advert – but everything is stopped in its tracks when a friend (Joe) asks the waiter for a piece of lime to add to his beer (Gasp! Shock! Horror!). The tense silence amongst the friends combined with an eloquently delivered line by Butler, lands the message in the most endearing and engaging way possible. In true Butler fashion, reminiscent of the many iconic characters played by him over the years, that’s the start and the end of that entire conversation. “It was an absolute pleasure working with Gerard, a professional in every sense of the word,” Wang said. “He’s a great performer, charming, entertaining and generous. Much like our brand philosophy, he kept it real throughout the production process.” Windhoek has stayed true to its 100-year-old brewing philosophy of only brewing 100% pure beer for consumers, with only three ingredients; malted barley, hops and water. This ad speaks directly to the core brand message of authenticity.
TRENDS FOR 2020 LABELLED ECO FRIENDLY The law of unintended consequences has taken on greater prominence in these environmentally aware times. It basically means that an intervention can have unforeseen – usually negative – consequences. Like the use of plastic packaging, for example. Initially considered a technological innovation, plastic bottles did away with heavy glass, were easier and lighter to transport and cheaper to produce. But something unforeseen – the devastating environmental toll it’s taken – occurred. SAB announced at the end of last year that it has become one of the first businesses in the world to use environmentally friendly Core Linerless Solutions® labels. The labels have no release liner – which is the backing traditionally used during storage of rolls of labels. As a consequence, there is no waste on these newly developed self-adhesive labels. It’s estimated that this will prevent 57 tons of waste being thrown away annually. The new perforated label is stuck directly onto a bottle without the need to remove the release liner (process waste) as is the case in ordinary less environmentally friendly labels used on many products in the market. SAB’s flavoured beer, Flying Fish, was selected as the first to trial the new innovative linerless label. Because it is a fast moving brand, the business will be able to identify any glitches and correct these in the quickest possible time. After labels for Flying Fish have been changed over to the new system, SAB will proceed with converting the rest of its product range. “Innovation with societal benefits is at the heart of much that we do at SAB and our global parent company, AB InBev, “ said Alexander Talbot, Zitec director at SAB. “We’re conscious that we have an impact on the environment and that there’s an obligation on our part to reduce this for the sustainability of society and for the business as the two are integrally linked.” 6 w w w .t o p s a t s p a r. c o . z a
Cocktails are cool – but South Africa is a bit behind the curve when it comes to the latest trends. 2019’s trends were simplicity and experimentation, gin, rum, low (or no) alcohol-by-volume drinks and the emergence of “green” or eco-friendly drinks. The House of Angostura, producer of world famous bitters and rum has provided a list of the trends for 2020. So what are they? Firstly, the classics are back while overly sweet, syrupy concoctions are dying a death. And then: the gin craze will continue as long as customers enjoy it, the appreciation of bitter flavours is on the rise while Amaro and herbal liqueurs – along with aperitifs – are set to return. More and more craft spirit producers will look to make their own rum and tequila. Low alcohol-by-volume and alcohol free serves will become even more common, driven by the demand for it by a socially and health-conscious younger generation. That will also affect things like packaging, use of straws, recycling and repurposing of all products in the cocktail industry. In the same vein, bartenders will begin incorporating more homemade ingredients, infusions and fermentations like kombucha into drinks. Get used to hemp infusions and CBD – or cannabidiol – products becoming part of cocktails. And two positive trends which are likely to take hold is the celebration of more women getting into the cocktail game as well as unique local ingredients being used more and more. As Diageo World Class Bartender of the Year SA 2018, Travis Kuhn said to finalists in the Angostura Global Cocktail Challenge last year: “The level of mixology is really good in South Africa, but we’re still looking at things in a very twodimensional way. We need to look at ingredients and how we can reconstruct them in different ways to achieve different flavours and balance. In SA we have rooibos, fynbos, citrus – these are flavours we should be combining and exploring to three-dimensionalise our creations!”
SWANSONG FOR SUMMER If there’s one wine that shrieks summertime, it’s Sauvignon Blanc – and as many South African wine producers are currently harvesting the 2020 vintage, Steenberg has just released its 2019 example of this style. The cellar team created a blend of different vineyard sites from Constantia which they believe best express this crisp, aromatic grape variety, even picking some of the grape parcels at varying stages of ripeness in order to vary the flavour spectrum. Some offered up flinty, green pepper notes while other – riper – batches had more tropical flavours of passionfruit and even gooseberry. Elunda Basson, the cellar master, pronounced herself “enchanted” with the wine she inherited after taking over at Steenberg mid-2019. “Aromas of fresh lime zest, elderflower, freshly cut grass and sweet bell pepper,” she said while Steenberg’s distinctive minerality was retained at its core. “Its striking and juicy acidity melded with Cape gooseberry and green melon, is the signature of this vibrant and beautifully textured Sauvignon Blanc.” While the Steenberg Sauvignon Blanc is drinking well now, one year on from harvest, Basson said it could comfortably be cellared for between two to five years.
RUNNING FREE Chenin Blanc arguably still has some way to go in terms of reaching the same level of popularity as Sauvignon Blanc in South Africa. The two wine styles differ vastly with the latter being easier to understand in its crisp, zesty freshness. But Chenin Blanc is something of a chameleon, capable of being made in a range of styles – from fresh, zesty and fruity all the way through to rich, rounded, oaked and serious with the potential to age for years. Calitzdorp is the town in the Klein Karoo most often associated with excellent Port-style wines. De Krans Wines now offers a unique, boutique style Chenin Blanc packed with fresh ripe tropical fruit, ripe banana, guava and passion fruit, with hints of lime. The taste is well-rounded, with a fresh acidity and a lingering aftertaste. The name of the wine is the Free Run Chenin Blanc, because only the free run part of the juice is used, resulting in more intense fruit flavours, complexity and longevity. It’s light enough to drink on its own (well chilled), but also pairs well with summer salads and seafood dishes. Not only has it won gold at both the 2019 GOLD wine awards and 2019 Gold Winner Ultra Value Challenge, the wine is also a winner in terms of good value for money. De Krans Wines has come a long way from being known solely as a Port-style wine producer with their range expanding far beyond, including Portuguese style red wines such as their flagship, the Tritonia Calitzdorp Blend and their popular premium Moscato range.
BY INVITATION ONLY Three new members of the South African winemaking fraternity have been admitted to the exclusive ranks of the Cape Winemakers Guild. Donovan Rall of Rall Family Wines and Vuurberg, Peter-Allan Finlayson of Gabriëlskloof and Crystallum and Adi Badenhorst of AA Badenhorst were announced as the newest recruits. Established in 1982, the Guild comprises over 40 winemakers who have been recognised as excelling at their craft by their peers within the Guild. Membership is by invitation only and is extended to winemakers who have been responsible for the production of outstanding wines for a minimum of five years and who show promise of not only consistently exceeding industry standards, but also promoting the values of the Guild. Andrea Mullineux, Chair of the Cape Winemakers Guild concludes: “Badenhorst goes beyond the bounds and has been instrumental in the success of the Swartland, Finlayson’s ability to produce classically styled wines wows the international wine world, and Rall plays an important role in projecting a high-end quality message and perception of not only his own brand, but that of the industry. These winemakers will be excellent additions to the Guild and we look forward to witnessing their next great achievements.”
CIRCUMSTANCE’S PINK Waterkloof is an architecturally arresting winery overlooking Somerset West, high on a slope facing into the teeth of the notoriously fierce southeaster wind which blows in over False Bay. But the wind is one of the natural tools which this biodynamic operation uses to keep its grapes as healthy as possible. The strong gusts of wind help to devigorate the growing vines and assist in lowering the pest and disease pressure. Waterkloof has just released a new vintage of the Cape Coral Mourvèdre Rosé; the 2019. For winemaker Nadia Barnard-Langenegger, the release is especially poignant – it marks her 10th anniversary harvest at Waterkloof. “The Cape Coral Rosé was one of the first wines I tasted from Waterkloof. When I did, I just knew I’d ended up at the right farm,” she said. “Every year I look forward to every aspect of making this wine; finding that optimal ripeness and carrying the character of the fruit through to the wine,” Nadia said. “To make that happen, pressing is gentle to retain both the beautiful, light-pink colour and a soft mouthfeel. Of course, we try not to interfere with nature. The juice is left to ferment – slowly, in oak fermenters – by the wild yeast that occurs naturally in the vineyards. “Our guiding principle is to create what we call ‘honest wine’ – wine that’s true to its terroir.” The wine is splendid when served chilled, on its own, but also marries well with a variety of dishes including spicy, tuna-based sushi.
THE FINEST BOTANICALS WITH A BOLD SQUEEZE OF FRESH CITRUS, HANDCRAFTED INTO A FRAGRANT AND EXQUISITELY SMOOTH TASTE.
MEDALS ON BREAST Ireland’s County Cork is home to the new Midleton distillery, one of the most modern in the world – and it’s where Redbreast, the definitive pot still Irish whiskey is produced. Redbreast, specifically the 12 year old, is a gold medal winner at the 2019 San Francisco World Spirits Competition and the overall winner of the 2019 Ultimate Spirits Competition. These awards vindicate the claim that it is one of the definitive expressions of this quintessential style of Irish whiskey making – perhaps because Redbreast has remained true to the Irish pot still whiskey making tradition for more than a century. The signature bottling is Redbreast 12 year old and boasts complex flavours galore, along with the distinctive quality that pot still offers. As is the case with many other Irish whiskies, Red Breast is triple distilled in copper pot stills after having been made from both malted and unmalted barley. The Irish spirit then undergoes long maturation in a combination of bourbon and Oloroso sherry casks and the results of this selective ageing is a product which is winning over critics and consumers alike. And what is it that whisky lovers appreciate? The complex spicy, fruity aroma with toasted wood notes which precede the complex, silky smooth yet beautifully balanced palate of rich fruit with pleasant nutty, sherry and toasted flavours. And the length on the palate means those delicious flavours linger long.
GUILT-FREE ENJOYMENT The alcohol-free drinks category is currently the fastest growing beverage section in South Africa – and it’s likely to grow even more with the announcement of stricter zero percent drinking laws which are in the offing. Consumers would be advised to seriously heed the rules of the road. Robertson Winery is the latest producer to tap into the current zeitgeist of mindful drinking by adding another wine to its range of nonalcoholic wines. With a reputation for pioneering, forward thinking and innovation, Robertson Winery was the first to launch two nonalcoholic sparkling wines – both sweet – as far back as 2012. It has now extended the popular range to include a DRY non-alcoholic bubbly to cater for the customer who doesn’t want anything sweet. Grapes grown in Robertson’s lime-rich soil produce elegant sparkling wines with finesse. The alcohol in this wine has been carefully removed to preserve the fruity aromas and vibrant flavours. Delightfully dry with a vivacious sparkle, gorgeous notes of pear and mandarin come to the fore accompanied by hints of orange blossom and honeysuckle. Refreshing and charmingly drinkable, it’s advised that it is served wellchilled to keep the bubbles and flavours at their peak.
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COCK-A-DOODLE ... PINK Middelvlei wine farm on the outskirts of Stellenbosch is one of the most laid back and unpretentious places to visit for a wine tasting or their renowned Boerebraai. The Momberg family, owners and proprietors of Middelvlei, love animals and there are always chickens and dogs around. And some of the fowls are truly beautiful, boasting colourful plumage and almost no fear of humans ... as they know the chances of a little snack are high when they’re underfoot! Middelvlei has decided to name its rosé after the roosters on the farm. Made from 100% Cinsaut grapes, the fruit was sourced from top quality vineyards in the Western Cape. According to winemaker Tinnie Momberg the conditions for the optimum growth and ripening of the grapes from September through to December, were perfect. Consequently, the dry wine is packed with delicate summer berry and watermelon flavours. Momberg describes the wine as a pale salmon pink colour with a delicious fruity finish. His suggestion is to enjoy it on its own while taking in the last of the summer sunsets or pair with grilled seafood, chicken dishes, grilled lamb chops, lamb burgers, bruschetta with black olive tapenade or seasonal inspired salads such as a Niçoise.
GRANDE PROVENCE MERLOT Franschhoek heritage wine estate Grande Provence has released a new wine: a Merlot. Having earned its stripes as a key component in the estate’s Bordeaux-style flagship blend, Merlot now stands tall as a varietal wine in the premium range. “Our Grande Provence Merlot started out as part of the blend of The Grande Provence Red, and is still a definitive variety of this signature wine,” said winemaker Thys Smit. “With its fruit purity, its elegance and complexity, it has evolved into an elegant, standalone wine in our portfolio.” Grapes for the wine are not from the property but were sourced from high-lying vineyards in the famous “golden triangle” in the Helderberg region, home to some of the finest Stellenbosch reds. “The vineyard is fanned by lovely cooling sea breezes, which leads to smaller berry formation with a lot of
FULLY CHARGED The sad reality of life in South Africa is that businesses are affected by electricity load shedding on a daily basis – and will continue to be for the next 18 months, according to Eskom press statements. In January SAB and AB InBev Africa took the bold step of stating that across the country, all of their breweries will have onsite solar facilities. This is the first part of the company’s multi-billion rand investment goal to ensure 100% of the business’s electricity requirements at manufacturing sites across Africa within five years. Onsite solar power at its seven South African breweries will partially power each facility and represents 7% of the business’s electricity requirements. This is equivalent to taking approximately 2 000 vehicles off of SA roads. This installation will allow for all electricity consumed for the production of its global brand, Budweiser, at its 12 w w w .t o p s a t s p a r. c o . z a
concentration. It allows us to extract and develop an elegant tannin structure,” Smit said while admitting that he has a particular soft spot for Merlot. “It can be a straight forward easy drinking wine or it can star in an opulent Bordeaux blend. I never realised what it took to make such a wine. With its versatility and elegance comes a bit of a rebellious temperament with a bunch of mixed signals and mixed analysis that can give you sleepless nights and plenty of grey hairs, but in the end it turns into something beautiful!” The Grande Provence Merlot shows wonderful intensity, with an array of vibrant dark cherries and raspberries, hints of wild herbs, tomato leaf and dark chocolate enlivened by touches of cinnamon, cloves and orange peel. In terms of body, it’s soft, subtle and smooth which makes it a good companion to herb-crusted lamb and rich meat dishes.
Rosslyn Brewery north of Pretoria, to be sourced from renewable energy. This is part of SAB and AB InBev’s “Budweiser Renewable Energy 100” goal. AB InBev’s global renewable energy commitment is that 50% of the company’s purchased electricity comes from renewable energy sources by 2020 and 100% by 2025. “We’ve achieved our 50% target in key markets across the globe ahead of schedule and we are well on track to achieve our 100% ambition with good progress being made in Africa,” said Taryn Rosekilly, VP Sustainability, SAB and AB InBev Africa. And it’s not just about making the most of the abundant sunshine in South Africa to keep the lights on and the bottling lines running: SAB and AB InBev’s renewable energy campaign has seen the company begin to use electric vehicles for deliveries. The first electric vehicle was unveiled in January, the eCanter, designed and
manufactured by Mitsubishi Fuso Truck and Bus Corporation. Boasting zero emissions, the 7.5 ton Fuso eCanter is the first of its kind in the world. The vehicle has a battery capacity of 82.8 kWh and a distance range of approximately 100-120km. It’s currently operating in multiple countries, including Germany, Japan, Portugal, and was brought to South Africa for customer demonstrations. “Our aim as Fuso has always been to come up with progressive, but simplified transport solutions that are at the forefront of our customers’ evolving needs where efficiency, versatility and sustainability are concerned. The commitment made by AB InBev, not only demonstrates a step in the right direction, but true vision and leadership that is key to shaping our present and future,” said Ziyad Gaba, head of Fuso Trucks Southern Africa. SAB and AB InBev Africa is currently working on a Pan African Renewable Energy tender, which would seek to source an equivalent of 440 megawatts (MW) of solar capacity in order to meet the 2025 target in Africa. That sum represents an initial investment of approximately R5.6 billion for installation at various facilities, which would be invested by the business’s development partners with a further R12.4 billion in energy cost that would be committed by AB InBev over a 20 year period. Not only that but the company intends to provide clean and affordable energy to around 80 000 people. “Renewable energy micro-grid solutions will provide power to consumers at a significantly lower cost than current solutions. This process will be delivered and managed through a blockchain solution,” the company’s release stated.
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SIMPLICITY IS THE ULTIMATE SOPHISTICATION, IT IS SAID. AND LESS IS ALSO MORE. WHEN IT COMES TO WINE, BOTH THESE EXPRESSIONS HOLD TRUE FOR THE WINE AND WINEMAKERS OF THE SWARTLAND. FIONA MCDONALD REPORTS.
MAIN: Travel the Swartland in early Spring and the land looks lush with its fresh covering of newly sprouted wheat and yellow patches of rape seed – but just a few months later, once harvested this same vista is dry and golden with wheat stubble all that remains.
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“Simple can be harder than complex. You have to work harder to get your thinking clean to make it simple. But it’s worth it in the end because once you get there, you can move mountains.” – Steve Jobs
ust 70 kilometres north of Cape Town as the proverbial crow flies, is Malmesbury. It’s a town at the epicentre of the wheat farming industry; a town that is automatically associated with the distinctive speech pattern – the Malmesbury brei. But in the last two decades the rolling golden wheat fields surrounding Malmesbury have been eclipsed by interest in its satellite towns of Riebeek Kasteel and Riebeek West. Until recently the claim to fame of these two towns was that they were the birthplace of two South African Prime Ministers: DF Malan and General Jan Smuts. It was just outside Malmesbury in the late 1990s that a maverick visionary Charles Back bought a property and named it Spice Route. He did so with three high profile partners: Gyles Webb of Thelema, John Platter, author of the eponymous wine guide and Jabulani Ntshangase, the first black partner/owner of vineyard in the country. An old tobacco shed was repurposed to become a winery and new vines were planted – joining some old, gnarled bush vines which had weathered numerous drought cycles over the decades. And in charge of the cellar was another maverick, a surfer-poet by the name of Eben Sadie.
“Knowledge is a process of piling up facts; wisdom lies in their simplification.” – Martin H Fischer
Say the name Maverick ... and thoughts turn to Tom Cruise as a fighter jet pilot in Top Gun, flouting convention and doing his own thing. Well, South Africa’s Swartland wine region has become the stomping ground for mavericks – fiercely independent winemakers, who tread their own path doing things which were deeply unfashionable, simply because they had faith and believed in less conventional winemaking ... until what was unfashionable became very in vogue. Quite revolutionary, in fact. The 1999 Platter Guide wrote the following in preview of Spice Route’s maiden release of 1998 vintage wines: “We were convinced that by careful selection of grapes and specialist small-batch handling in the winery, with the emphasis on deep flavours and fine tannins, we could produce some surprises,” said Webb, who, with Back, oversaw wine operations. “And I think we’ve managed that; we surprised even ourselves!” The Spice Route partners 16 w w w .t o p s a t s p a r. c o . z a
TOP: Adi Badenhorst in his happy place, among the bush vines on Kalmoesfontein in the Swartland. MIDDLE: Mullineux’s Terroir series wines – Chenin Blanc and Syrah – are amongst the most sought after in the country. BOTTOM: The granite tips of the Paardeberg peak over the stubbled, golden fields of the Swartland. A new generation of winemakers has brought additional lustre to this hot, dry area.
chose Eben Sadie, a young and kindred free-spirit, trained at Elsenburg and with experience in California, Oregon and Rhineland wineries, to take charge of the cellar; and he’s done a remarkable job.” Back recalls standing at the press when the first grapes were crushed in 1998, and in spite of his years of winemaking, he said he got goose bumps at what he saw, smelled and tasted that day. Sadly, he and Sadie were left to drive the project as Webb worked as a consultant in the establishment of Stellenbosch winery Tokara, while John and Erica Platter moved to KwaZulu-Natal and Jabulani Ntshangase became very busy establishing his wine shop in the Westin Hotel in Cape Town. Back ultimately bought them all out and claimed sole ownership of the project. After a few years, Sadie left Spice Route and began his own operation – and set off something of a domino chain. His belief in the Swartland’s terroir, its patchwork of old, neglected and forgotten vines and his sympathetic winemaking, true to ancient rather than modern methods had critics and consumers alike sitting up and taking notice. (Inspiration for the names of his Columella and Palladius wines came from two ancient Roman scribes, men who wrote about agriculture – as Wikipedia states – “in the hope of arousing a love for farming and a simple life”.) Land in the Swartland was also cheaper than in Stellenbosch, Paarl, Hemel en Aarde or Elgin. Young aspirant winemakers actually had a shot at owning property and doing their own thing. Fast forward a decade or so and this bunch of mavericks and likeminded souls banded together to form the Swartland Independents. They set up a code of minimal intervention when it came to winemaking, eschewing too much technology and everything was about the wine – not the bells and whistles of marketing or the latest fads sweeping the world of wine. They preferred good old fashioned natural fermentation rather than opening up a packet of yeast bought from a supplier to kick-start the winemaking process, they preferred wood over stainless steel and didn’t allow the process to be hurried. In the case of Chris and Andrea Mullineux, they differentiated Shiraz grown on soils – schist and granite – and bottled them separately, as well as drying Chenin Blanc grapes on racks and straw mats, allowing them to raisin slightly before pressing them to make an unctuously sweet Straw Wine. Seriously Old School! They also began a weekend celebration of their wines – and proudly tasted them alongside some great international examples. This Swartland Revolution, a weekend long Bacchanal became the hottest property in wine circles, celebrating great wines, laid back bonhomie and down home hospitality. A celebration of all things local and lekker. It didn’t hurt that the individuals involved – Sadie, Chris and Andrea Mullineux, Adi Badenhorst, Callie Louw of Porseleinberg are all utterly unique characters. It ran for six years from 2010 until 2015. The members of the Revolution felt they had achieved their goal in putting the Swartland on the map and merely reproducing the same format year after year would be counterproductive. It morphed and evolved into the Swartland Independent movement, with a lot more members and less resistance to wines from the rugged area. From California to London to Brussels, members of the wine trade or everyday wine geeks are all aware of the Swartland and its wine revolution.
ABOVE: The simple act of pouring wine into a glass before enjoying it belies the many steps which precede it: years of establishing vineyard, growing the vines, picking the grapes, making the wine, maturing it in barrel and finally bottling it for the consumer. MAR/APR 2020
DECLARATION OF INDEPENDENCE
Members of the Swartland Independents all subscribe to the same creed, as contained on their website www.swartlandindepent.co.za
The buzz in wine circles in South Africa at present is old vines – and preserving the country’s precious vinous heritage. Sadie and Badenhorst, together with viticulturist Rosa Kruger who was detailing older vineyards while working for Anthonij Rupert Wines, saw the benefit of neglected parcels of old Chenin Blanc, Carignan, Grenache, Palomino, Shiraz and Semillon. By paying a bit of attention, careful pruning and almost hand crafting the vines, they created some truly thrilling wine blends, white and red. Critical acclaim followed – and where the points and the money are, others will follow. So 20 or more years on from those early Spice Route and Sadie wines, the Swartland has become a happy hunting ground for South African winemakers wanting to source grapes for exciting wines, many vinified elsewhere. The list of producers based in the Swartland has grown in just 20 years, but so has the list of wines which utilise Swartland fruit: Boekenhoutskloof, Anthonij Rupert, Chris Alheit with his range of Chenin Blancs, Ian Naudé, Duncan Savage, Marelise Niemann of Momento wines and a host more. The past few drought years have not been kind to the grape growers of the Swartland. They were particularly badly hit with yields substantially down – and the growing season leading up to the 2020 harvest was also troublesome with massive disease pressure brought on by variable climatic conditions. Regardless of the challenges, the Swartland remains golden. The days of it being a neglected, unloved and forgotten region are long gone. It’s the hottest property around with some of the country’s most talented winemakers doing exciting things. They’ve been revolutionary and yet still relish their independence. SWARTLAND PRODUCERS: AA Badenhorst Allesverloren Annex Kloof Babylon’s Peak City on a Hill David & Nadia Dragonridge Franki’s Hughes Family Huis van Chevallerie Kloovenburg K Wickens Lammershoek
Meerhof Morelig Mullineux Nieuwdrift Org de Rac Pulpit rock Rall family Riebeek Cellars Sadie Family Wines Spice Route Swartland Wildehurst
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Here’s their charter: The core elements of a regional wine: In order to encourage the production of wines that are truly reflective of the Swartland, we have drawn up a basic list of conditions that must be met before a wine can bear the Swartland Independent logo. These conditions are subject to continuous scrutiny and discussion by the members. An Independent wine must be grown entirely in the Swartland and carry “Wine of Origin Swartland” on its label. It must also be vinified, matured and bottled in the Swartland. An Independent producer will bottle at least 80% of his wine production under his own labels. One of our core values is that the wines carrying our logo must be naturally produced. By this we understand a minimum of manipulation in both vineyard and cellar; so that a Swartland Independent wine: • has no inoculated yeast, or added yeast supplement • will not be acidified • has no added tannin • will not be chemically fined • will not undergo any tehnological process (reverse osmosis) which • will alter the constitution of the wine Certain varieties have shown themselves to be particularly suited to expressing Swartland conditions. A Swartland Independent wine must consist of only the following grape varieties: • Red wine: Syrah/shiraz, Mourvèdre, Grenache noir, Carignan, Cinsaut, Tinta Barocca, Pinotage. • White wine: Chenin blanc, Grenache blanc, Marsanne, Roussanne, Viognier, Clairette blanche, Palomino (Fransdruif/ Vaalblaar), Sémillon (Groendruif), Muscat Alexandrie, Muscat d’Frontignan, Colombard and Verdelho. This list of grapes will be reviewed every few years, especially as a result of new varieties being planted in the region and an assessment of their ability to express Swartland terroir. • B ecause heavy oaking can “mask” the essence of the grape, no Swartland Independent wine may be aged with more than 25% kept in new wood as a component. All wood needs to be of European origin. •A ll wines of the Independent must be bottled in “Burgundy shape” bottles. Every wine that has been certified and checked to meet these conditions may be packaged with the seal on the capsule and the certification label of the Swartland Independent. Sporadic unannounced checks will be done in cellars of samples of must and wine, as well as of bottled wine.
TBWA\ Hunt \ Lascaris \ Durban\85003
TA S T I N G |
QUE SYRAH SYRAH
SHIRAZ – OR SYRAH AS IT’S SOMETIMES CALLED – IS A RICH, SPICY WINE WHICH IS MADE FOR SOUTH AFRICAN WINTER ENJOYMENT. A CHEERS TASTING PANEL PUT A CROSS SECTION OF THE SWARTLAND’S PRODUCERS’ WINES TO THE TEST.
he popularity of Shiraz has exploded! Just 20 years ago there were 107 Shiraz listed in the index of the Platter Guide in total. The 2020 edition of the same guide details 18 wines rated 5 Stars, 131 at 4½ and a further 174 at 4 Stars, making a whopping 373 wines considered excellent. There are around the same number of wines coming in below that threshold. Shiraz is a grape most commonly associated with France’s Rhône valley ... and it’s where so many of the Swartland winemakers take their inspiration from. The dry, warm area with Malmesbury and Riebeek Kasteel at its centre is best
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known for its rolling wheat fields and sheep pastures but it’s also where some of the country’s most exciting Shiraz are made. The real rock star wines, the Porseleinberg and Mullineux Iron, Schist and Gravel examples weren’t available for tasting at short notice but we rounded up a representative sampling of what the proverbial man-in-the-street could easily find in retail. Tasting panel: Fiona McDonald, Dr Winnie Bowman CWM, Maryna Calow, Dee Griffin and Sam Robertson
RIEBEEK CELLARS SHIRAZ 2018
Ripe squishy black fruit – plum and cherry with a light fynbos and dried herb edge. Lovely juiciness and approachability with ample light-bodied appeal. Winnie found it dusty, a character that Maryna noted as white pepper.
SWARTLAND BUSH VINE SYRAH 2017 Dusty leather, dried herb and black cherry flavour reminiscent of “Old School” Shiraz. Tangy with cracked pepper and inky notes. Acid tang is noticeable. “Liquorice and cloves,” said Maryna while Winnie found it a touch ponderous and four-square.
STONEDANCE SHIRAZ 2018
Sour plum succulence with a light lavender overlay. Energetic and lively while mediumbodied and likeable. So easy to drink! Dee and Sam found it bright and appealing, Maryna liked its length and Winnie appreciated the rich dark chocolate depth on the palate.
KLOOF STREET SWARTLAND ROUGE 2018
The ringer in the line-up because it’s a Shiraz-based blend. Equal parts of Shiraz and Tinta Barocca (44%) are blended with Grenache (7%) Cinsaut (4%) and Carignan (1%). Juicy red and black berry fruit on the palate but a noticeable subtle grip. There is a genteel light spice and plush, soft ripeness with a long, rich finish. Substantial. “It’s a stand out,” said Maryna. “Noticeably different,” was Dee’s opinion and Winnie liked the subtlety of the spice as well as its delicious succulence.
LAMMERSHOEK THE INNOCENT SYRAH 2018
Appealing blueberry, mocha, vanilla aromas with bright blue and black berry fruit on the palate. The vibrancy of this wine is balanced by a deeper, earthy nuance with some liquorice flavour. Rewarding and long. “Quite perfumed,” Sam said, while Dee and Winnie liked the mulberry, pepper and the lightbodied freshness.
BABYLON’S PEAK SHIRAZ CARIGNAN 2019
Another ringer in that it’s a blend of Shiraz and Carignan – so it also stood out. Deep cocoa, choc aromas and flavours with rich black and blue berry fruit notes. Lots of spice Fiona said, with Christmas cake elements. Very approachable with the oak well handled.
TA S T I N G |
ORG DE RAC SHIRAZ 2017
Deep meaty, spicy palate with wood shavings and oak prominent on nose too. The oak is prominent but plays well with the plum, prune and dried herb flavours. Good balance and length. Muscular and powerful presence with a lingering aftertaste. Maryna noted the herbaceousness of the wine. “Definite fynbos and the wine is also quite tannic.” Recommended as accompaniment for a hearty, meat-based meal.
ALLESVERLOREN SHIRAZ 2017
Light powdery nose gives way to supple, juicy ripe black fruit – plums and fynbos. Textured, smooth and approachable. Long tail. Winne liked the brightness of the wine while Maryna said the fruit was a touch ripe, heading into the dried fruit spectrum in her opinion. “Some Christmas cake and raisin notes,” she said.
TSW SWARTLAND SYRAH 2017
Soft textured, genteel entry but complex and structured albeit in an understated way. Nothing is in your face. It’s subtle. Light blue fruit and plums, dried herbs and a light powdery violet or floral note. Powerful but restrained in its elegance and length. “Not typical of the Swartland,” said Winnie. Good intensity but lighter in style with salty/liquorice edge to the palate.
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fusions Add a splash of spectacular to your next sundowner with SPAR’s new Tonic Waters. Crafted to embrace your choice of alcohol with subtle and refreshing ﬂavours and aromas, SPAR Tonic Waters offer a great tasting product at an affordable price. With the classic Indian and enchanting Rose and Cucumber variants available in 1 L bottles, you can get creative with your next sparkling cocktail.
Lime & Ginger Whisky Tonic INGREDIENTS: • SPAR Indian Tonic Water • Limes • Whisky
• Slices of peeled ginger • Ice
PREPARATION: • Add ginger and two slices of lime to a shaker and muddle until fragrant. • Add whisky and a squeeze of lime juice to the shaker. Add ice to above the level of the liquid. Shake for 5 seconds. • Strain into a glass ﬁlled with ice. • Top with SPAR Indian Tonic Water, and garnish with lime slices.
MMMM MONOCHROME ... THE CONTRAST BETWEEN BLACK AND WHITE IS STARK. THAT’S WHY THE COLOURS WORK ON A PIANO KEYBOARD – OR A CHESSBOARD: THERE’S A DISTINCT DELINEATION BETWEEN ONE AND THE OTHER. SO WHY WOULD DRINKS BE ANY DIFFERENT?
he things you learn on that great repository of knowledge ... No, not the library; the internet of all things, digital and otherwise. A simply typed query into the origins of the Black Russian cocktail revealed that it first appeared in 1949 – and its existence is attributed to Gustave Tops. Tops was a barman at the Hotel Metropole in Brussels in Belgium and who named the drink for Perle Mesta. (Thanks to Wikipedia and to cocktail historian Gary Regan of liquor.com for that nugget of information!) So who was Perle Mesta and what made her worthy of this delicious concoction of five parts vodka on the rocks with two parts of coffee-flavoured Kahlua liqueur poured over? At the time, she was the American ambassador to Belgium’s neighbour, Luxembourg. (Which coincidentally still boasts one of the highest wine consumption rates per head of population at 50-plus litres per year, more than anywhere else in the world – as well as secure and secret banking system, amongst other things.) But by all accounts Mesta was a real character, a renowned hostess and power broker in political circles in Washington in the days when she was considered “just” a socialite, but which might also explain the ambassadorship ... It’s noted in testimony at the Watergate Grand Jury investigation into President Richard M Nixon in June 1975
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that he said: “Perle Mesta wasn’t sent to Luxembourg because she had big bosoms. Perle Mesta went to Luxembourg because she made a good contribution.” Mesta was born in Michigan, to a father who had become a wealthy oilman and hotelier in 1889. She married a steel magnate and engineer in 1916 but was widowed just nine years later, inheriting his substantial $78 million fortune. In today’s terms that would make the 30-something widow a dollar billionaire. Having moved to Washington in 1940, Mesta was active in the National Woman’s Movement, using her social events to network with figures in contemporary society, the arts, theatre and movies as well as politics. A firm believer in the Equal Rights Amendment which was intended
Apparently Irving Berlin was so impressed by her that he wrote the hit musical Call Me Madam starring Ethel Merman in 1952! Perle Mesta also graced the cover of TIME magazine in 1949 in recognition of her ambassadorship and diplomatic skills. That wasn’t the only time she formed the basis of a character: Wikipedia states that Mesta was the title character played by Shirley Booth in the Playhouse 90 feature The Hostess with the Mostess in 1957, while in a 2009 essay by Thomas Mallon, she was identified as a model for the character Dolly Harrison in Allen Drury’s 1959 novel Advise and Consent. So that explains a bit about the Black Russian cocktail’s inspiration but what about the White Russian?
“I’m the Dude, so that’s what you call me. That or, uh His Dudeness, or uh Duder, or El Duderino, if you’re not into the whole brevity thing.” to do away with discrimination against women, she lobbied actively for women’s rights. Harry Truman benefited from her political patronage and is one of the reasons why, after his election as President in 1944, he appointed her the first ever American ambassador to Luxembourg in 1949, a post she held until 1953.
The cocktail is exactly the same as the Black Russian (5 parts vodka, ice, with 2 parts Kahlua) but simply with the addition of cream, which changes both the colour and the flavour of the drink. It is reputed to have been created in the 1960s and it doesn’t have any great inspiration behind it.
However... it gained popularity after being featured in the cult classic movie by the Coen brothers, The Big Lebowski with Jeff Bridges. Bridges plays a slacker character, Lebowski aka “The Dude”, who loves tenpin bowling – and drinking White Russians. The movie, shot in 1998, was a modest success at the time of release but has become a sleeper hit with critics and fans alike now deeming it one of the best comedies of all time. There are Lebowski festivals held all over the United States which thousands of fans attend, quoting lines of dialogue from the movie, like this memorable vignette: “I’m the Dude, so that’s what you call me. That or, uh His Dudeness, or uh Duder, or El Duderino, if you’re not into the whole brevity thing.” So for the sake of brevity, dude, here are the recipes for a Black Russian and a White Russian.
VARIATIONS ON A THEME
Dirty Black Russian: Tall Black Russian, Australian Black Russian or Colorado Bulldog: Black Russian in a highball glass topped off with cola. Brown Russian: also in a highball glass, the drink is topped with ginger ale. Irish Russian or Smooth Black Russian: served with a head of Guinness. Black Magic: add a dash of lemon juice and a lemon twist as garnish. California Russian: add a shot of triple sec and an orange slice. And then there’s the Mudslide: a Black Russian with a shot of Bailey’s Irish Cream. (So I suppose the substitution of Amarula cream liqueur would make this cocktail an African Mudslide?)
In an Old Fashioned glass, place a few ice cubes and pour over 50 ml vodka followed by 20 ml Kahlua coffee liqueur. Garnish with a maraschino cherry.
Pour 50 ml of vodka over ice in an Old Fashioned glass, 20 ml of Kahlua and top off with 30 ml dairy cream. Gently stir before serving.
SHAME COLOUR APPEARS FREQUENTLY ON SPIRIT LABELS, PATRICK LECLEZIO FINDS. IN THE JOHNNIE WALKER WHISKY PORTFOLIO ALONE THERE IS RED, BLACK, BLUE, GREEN AND GOLD. HE TAKES AN UNCOMPLICATED BLACK AND WHITE VIEW OF THE TOPIC.
e live in world that has become so complex, so overwhelming and time-intensive, that I’ve made it a priority to strive for simplicity in my life, although with all the distractions and confusion out there I need to regularly remind myself about it. And I’m not alone, by far. Simple logic, simple pleasures, finding the essence of things – these are universally appealing ambitions, capable of explosive impact. Simplicity offers clarity, and clarity can be priceless. I spend a lot of time thinking about and sampling booze, probably too much time (and the jury’s out on whether it’s helping me achieve any clarity), so it surprised me recently in light of this priority to simplify, to make an observation that had previously eluded me. There’s a multitude of simplicity in the naming of liquor brands, specifically the use of black or white. Their monochromatic simplicity aside, these are colours that serve as basic, widely understood symbols, conveying at their core powerful inferences: white as purity, innocence, goodness, and black as elegance, luxury, power, mystery, and at its darker end, degrees of malevolence. Bruichladdich Black Art, the maverick Islay whisky, playfully taps into this vein to great effect, exuding an enigmatic, slightly dangerous mystery – perfectly evoking the unusualness of the product itself, with its luscious, layered, almost magical notes. Was it made in a still or a cauldron? On a windswept Western
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Hebridean island in Scotland or with myth and magic in Middle Earth? The verdict is still not in, as far as I’m concerned. One of my favourite whiskeys is Bushmills Black Bush. I love the rich, fruity, velvety flavour, especially in the context of its not-taking-the-mickey price tag. The name signals the luxury of the liquid, no doubt, but it supports my hypothesis even further – and in this instance, a rare case indeed, it’s the people or the fans who can take the credit. This whiskey actually started out with a distinctly non-simple and rather cumbersome designation: “Old Bushmills Special Old Liqueur Whiskey”, but given its identifiably dark colouring, due to maturation largely in Oloroso sherry casks, and its black label, patrons started calling for it in more basic terms: “Barman, I’ll have the Black Bush please” – with the “Bush” being a contraction of Bushmills. Before long the popular name was formally adopted. A whiskey of the people, by the people, or as close to it as you’ll get – although the Scotch whisky Black & White has a similar story* (I kid you not), being previously named “House of Commons”. The white-is-good-black-is-evil axis is turned on its head by Johnnie Walker’s White Walker whisky, a commemoration of the massively popular Game of Thrones universe, and its nefarious, implacable arch-villains. Spoiler alert: they didn’t “keep walking”, being eventually eliminated in one fell swoop, and
C O C K TA I L |
Was it made in a still or a cauldron? On a windswept Western Hebridean island in Scotland or with myth and magic in Middle Earth? The verdict is still not in, as far as Iâ€™m concerned.
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some of them didn’t walk at all, riding horses and even a dragon ... But fear and loathe them as we might, they were redeemingly handy with ice, which is what the name alludes to. So in evoking this basic whisky drinking requirement it strikes a resonant chord. A more conventional deployment of “white” can be found in Dewar’s “White Label” whisky, a stamp of quality that has served the product well since its inception in 1899, keeping Dewar’s enduringly within the world’s top 10 best-selling blended Scotch whiskies. Tommy Dewar, the man credited with taking the brand global, literally and figuratively as he tirelessly travelled from country to country and continent to continent drumming up business, is likely the one who imparted the name. The world of whisky is littered with appellations using these two colours from Johnnie Black, Black Velvet, and
Black Bottle, to White Horse and Jack Daniel’s White Rabbit Saloon, and even Blackadder, disappointingly named after John, a Scottish preacher, and not Edmund, the television series character played by Rowan Atkinson – but they certainly aren’t whisky’s exclusive preserve, being employed across a variety of spirits. Rum and tequila use white in particular, and black sporadically, to distinguish one style from another. Bacardi injected some Spanish flair into the practice with Carta Blanca, their standard white rum bottling, and Carta Negra, a rum aged in heavily charred casks, producing the intensely dark colour referenced by the name. Noir King, taking a leaf from the same book, albeit in French, used the word to proudly proclaim the first ever black woman-owned cognac.
Perhaps the most poignant rendition of the theme though is O de V’s Gin White and Gin Black, which not only use the colours as their core descriptors, but which attempt to interpret them in the construction of the liquid itself: “This is the idea that we have pursued, trying to find a recipe of botanicals that characterise ‘Black’ and ‘White’”, using fruit and bold floral ingredients for the black, and softer, more fragrant elements for the white. It is simplicity at its poetic finest. You may ask yourself why this matters; these are just words, pick one, pick another, it’s all the same – it’s what’s in the bottle that’s important. The fact is though that the words, the branding, and the packaging influence our perception of flavour and our enjoyment of the drink, to a greater or lesser extent, depending on the individual and the type of spirit. This is the reason why some vodkas, to use an obvious example, despite being intrinsically indistinguishable from cheaper counterparts to the average palate, can and do sell at relatively high prices. And the phenomenon shouldn’t be disparaged – rather the employment of any and all reasonable means to elevate enjoyment deserves applause. You take your kicks where you get them, gratefully. Smirnoff Black may not taste altogether very different from its 1818 stablemate, but the indulgence transmitted by this simple idea of black puts it in a different class. Black and white, they’re a celebration of the simple things in life. Cheers!
“The water was not fit to drink. To make it palatable, we had to add whisky. By diligent effort, I learned to like it.” – Winston Churchill
* In the 1890s James Buchanan released a blended Scotch whisky under the House of Commons label. Because its label was black and white, that’s what consumers took to asking for when buying the dram. Although Black & White whisky now resides in the extensive Diageo portfolio, the concept of the two canines featured on the label – a black Scottish terrier and white West Highland terrier – were the brainchild of Buchanan himself. Another interesting snippet which Wikipedia records is that the Black & White brand featured in a trademark infringement case in 1968 with the whisky fighting against a beer being made under the same name. (Maier Brewing Co. v. Fleischmann Distilling Corp., 390 F.2d 117 (9th Cir. 1968))
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DARK PLEASURES IN A MASSIVE BEER MARKET, DARK BEERS REPRESENT ITS FRINGE. CLIFFORD ROBERTS SHINES A LIGHT ON THIS EXCITING SEGMENT.
raft breweries may be consolidating, but palates are diversifying. The fortunes of darker beer varieties may have once been uncertain, but they’re certainly more familiar fixtures than a year ago. No matter what, it seems that more people are loving the dark. Now, the contemporary categorisation of beers can be confusing and differs widely depending on whether you’re in an old or new world brewing country, or how brewers were schooled. That’s probably one of the most likeable characteristics of the humble brew – its evasion of conformity. Just when you thought you’d worked it out, you’ll discover an exception to the rule. It is, however, not quite the wild west. Generally, principal dark versions will
fall into the category of top-fermented beers and include stouts and porters alongside wheat beers and ales. Lagers are cold-fermented. On colour, various standards of measurement are used around the world. The Standard Reference Method measures the reduction in the intensity of a beam of blue light as it passes through 1cm of beer. The European Brewing Convention is determined by comparing colour with amounts of iodine in water. More to the topic though, dark beers have been uncannily grippy in their presence. Yes, they’re flavourful, with edge. Like Marmite, Night Rider, Shaft and a moonlit midnight ocean. But we’re in a hot country that has loved lager since forever. The Craft Revolution changed that. Now, there’s an ever-extending list of makers in the field. For starters, here’s a list of top performers in the 2019 African Beer Cup: Brauhaus Dunkel (Brauhaus am Damm), Schwarzbier (Clockwork Brewhouse), The Stout (The Franschhoek Beer Co), Eike Stout (Stellenbosch Brewing Co), Red Special (Shields Indie
“Let a man walk ten miles steadily on a hot summer’s day along a dusty English road, and he will soon discover why beer was invented.” GK Chesterton
Brewing Company) and The Stormy Smoked Porter (Drifter Brewing Company), which won Best Beer in Africa. The Dark Beer champion at the SA National Beer Trophy was Cape Brewing Company’s Doppelbock, which featured alongside Roadhog Porter (Hoghouse Brewing Co), Shangaan Stout (Sabie Brewery Company) and many others. Famous beers like Gilroy’s Serious Dark Ale are continuously being joined by newbies like Frontier Beer Co’s Tart of Darkness, a Bourbon-barrel aged stout. MAR/APR 2020
For long, there’s also been an association of dark beer as a winter drink. That led to easy associations with chocolate and coffee. Castle Milk Stout’s Chocolate Infused extension was conceived to be temporary, but its popularity made it a permanent fixture. The market loves this brew and its thirst remains powerful! Local beer writer Lucy Corne describes Woodstock Brewery’s Mr Brownstone “like Nutella in beer form”. Boston Breweries makes Black River Coffee Stout (5% ABV); the aroma is coffee, but they suggest “Try it with chocolate dessert…”. But that’s changing too. “We’re hardly a barometer of what might be happening elsewhere, especially because people come here who are interested in our experimental edge. But, we’ve found that as drinkers broaden their experience, they move to trying more flavourful beers,” says Eric van Heerden, owner of Triggerfish Brewing in Somerset West. “Their default shifts so that they begin to choose beers by occasion.” The brewery’s range includes the occasional Black Bass oatmeal stout, but Black Marlin Russian Imperial Stout and the Monsterfish Russian Imperial Stout “flavour bomb” increasingly feature yearround, along with its Empowered Stout. Anja van Zyl, head brewer at Hey Joe! Brewery in Franschhoek considers brewing its Dubbel a patriotic responsibility. “As a Belgium-inspired brewery, it is part of our vision and values to brew a dark beer. The Belgian Dubbel has a lot of history and we like to go back to old school styles and brewing techniques.” The beers are brewed in two full copper vessels from Belgium that date from 1961. “I do brew a Belgian Lager that is slightly more malty and keeps Lager drinkers happy while we slowly [introduce] them to other styles.” She finds many willing takers. “(With the dark beers), you tend to mash longer at a slightly higher temperature. This gives the beer a good mouthfeel and more body,” says Anja. Veteran Cape mixologist Travis Kuhn says there’s plenty of potential in dark beer cocktails considering their flavour
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profile and unexplored territory. “They are heavily robust in flavour and offer a myriad of ‘interesting’ flavours driven around bitter chocolate and coffee, which can be used as a unique balancing agent for sweetness other than citrus juices,” says Travis, just voted Most Influential Cocktail Personality in SA on liquor news website Drinksfeed. “More seasoned mixologists will love discovering the complexity dark beers offer to a cocktail, while younger bartenders may not know what to do with it.”
“We’re hardly a barometer of what might be happening elsewhere, especially because people come here who are interested in our experimental edge. But, we’ve found that as drinkers broaden their experience, they move to trying more flavourful beers,” says Eric van Heerden, Triggerfish Brewing.
The category is hamstrung however by most bars’ reliance on traditional, money-spinning lagers and avoidance of wastage caused by pack limitations, he adds. “This is unless we want to mix straight spirits with beers, which use the whole content of the beer for something like a Boilermaker, which combines beer and Bourbon.” He’s teamed up with partners to open Vicious Virgin, a tiki-style bar. Beer isn’t generally an ingredient in tiki drinks, but Travis is considering a cocktail that will incorporate a dark, heavy imperial stout. “The bitter content of the stout … can balance with a wonderful Pedro
Ximenez Sherry, some fresh ginger for spice, a date and black walnut bitters, lime and dark rum.” Travis says dark beers have long been introduced as limited runs. Mainstream traction has suffered by keeping them from becoming “sessionable” drinking beer like lagers. No-one will deny however that dark beers have allure that can ramp up a cocktail, even for the purists. At Triggerfish, Eric van Heerden serves up the Empowered Plus, a mix of stouts; and the familiar Black & Tan dark-and-light beer blend. At Cause+Effect Cocktail Kitchen in the V&A Waterfront, the “Peppermint Tart” mixes Devil’s Peak Russian Stout with mint pelargonium, gingerbread ice-cream and cacao. Then there are creations like The Flip, highlighted by Tristan Stephenson in his book, The Curious Bartender (2016, Ryland Peter’s & Small). Combine 10g molasses, 50ml rum and 200ml dark ale. Pour the liquids into a heat-resistant tankard, leaving at least 2,5cm between the surface of the liquid and the lip of the mug. Now the kicker: using gloves, heat a poker. Plunge into the drink and stir. The caramelised sugars will smell amazing. Grate a sprinkling of nutmeg, serve and remember to bow for the applause.
ABOVE: CAUSE EFFECT Cocktail Kitchen & Cape Brandy Bar - Cocktail. Photo by Ruzaan Schechter.
ABOVE LEFT TO RIGHT: South African beer fans have never had it so good. The country’s craft brewers have turned their hands to darker beers – with tasty results.
NEXT MONTH |
THERE IS NO OTHER FRUIT IN THE WORLD THAT TASTES LIKE PASSIONFRUIT. IT IS SIMULTANEOUSLY SWEET AND SOUR AND UNIQUELY EXOTIC – WHICH IS WHY IT MAKES SUCH A BIG IMPACT IN THE KITCHEN. AUSTRALIANS ARE RENOWNED FOR DRIZZLING THE PULPY SEEDS OVER CRUNCHY, CHEWY MERINGUE PAVLOVAS TO ADD A SPECIAL, TROPICAL TOUCH TO THE DESSERT.
ut increasingly it’s beginning to feature behind the bar with mixologists loving the flavour that it can bring to mixed drinks. Interestingly, the passionfruit (which can also be written passion fruit or passion-fruit – all are correct!) originates from Central and South America. It’s a vine that loves to sprawl and climb and happily produces its globular little fruit most months of the year if the conditions are right. It doesn’t like frost or too much water, or so the gardening and farming sites on the internet report. And it will happily provide fruit for three years if being cultivated as a commercial farm crop or between five to seven years if it’s randomly rambling in the back garden... So why is it called passionfruit? It has nothing to do with evoking amorous feelings: it’s name – passiflora – was given by Jesuit missionaries in the 1600s who thought the beautiful flower the vine produces reminded them of elements of the symbols of Christ’s passion: the nails, hammer (stamen) and the ring or corona which they thought was like a crown of thorns. Some references also allude to the cross-like structure which emerges from the centre of the flower.
Missionaries in Brazil trying to convert locals to Christianity called it flor das cinco chagas or “flower of the five wounds” and used it to illustrate the crucifixion of Christ.
The exotic sweet/sour tangy flavour is well known and loved – even if not everyone appreciates the seeds, but did you know that the ancient Aztecs used them to relax? Apparently passionfruit contains a substance later identified by scientists as passiflorene which is a natural tranquilizer... How about a relaxing cocktail then?
As Wikipedia states: Passiflora ligularis, commonly known as the sweet granadilla or grenadia, is a plant species in the genus Passiflora. It is known as granadilla in Bolivia, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Mexico and Peru, granadilla común in Guatemala, granadilla de China or parcha dulce in Venezuela and granaditta in Jamaica.
PASSION FOR DAYS
40 ml Absolut Passionfruit 20 ml lime juice 50 ml mango juice Top with tonic water. Build the drink in a wine glass and garnish with a pineapple leaf.
ABSOLUT PASSIONFRUIT MARTINI
40 ml Absolut Passionfruit vodka 20 ml Passionfruit liqueur 30 ml Passionfruit pulp Fill a shaker with ice cubes. Add all ingredients. Shake and strain into a cocktail glass. Garnish with a wedge of passion fruit.
(Information sources: Wikipedia and Science Direct.com: Prance: Fruits of Tropical Climates – Fruits of Central and South America)
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AVAILABLE END OF MARCH
NEXT MONTH |
HOT BITES COCKTAIL MAGIC
South African Regional winner of the Angostura Global Cocktail Challenge Leighton Rathbone was narrowly beaten by Dubai representative Vasile Dorofeev in the Africa and Middle East final held in Cyprus late last year. But local cocktail enthusiasts are still talking about some of the drinks prepared in the South African judging, notably those by Martin Strobos of Slo-Jo Innovations who was placed third in the local round. Taking his cue from Angostura’s range of rums, he presented the judges with the Rum inspired Enigma and the Amaro based Harmony.
Rum inspired Enigma INGREDIENTS: 3 7,5ml Angostura 7 year old 1 2,5ml rosso vermouth 1 2,5ml vanilla syrup L emon juice 2 orange peels 5 dashes Angostura aromatic bitters 2 pinches salt Garnish: Dehydrated orange wheel METHOD: Chill coupe glass. Build all ingredients in a mixing glass. Fill with ice and shake hard and well. Fine strain and garnish.
Amaro inspired Harmony INGREDIENTS: 3 7,5ml Amaro di Angostura 1 2,5ml extra dry vermouth 2 0ml pineapple rosemary syrup 1 2,5ml lemon juice 3 7,5ml white grape juice 3 dashes Angostura aromatic bitters Garnish: Roasted rosemary sprig METHOD: Chill a small wine glass with ice. Build all ingredients in a shaker. Shake well and hard. Discard ice in wine glass. Strain into glass and garnish.
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Stellenbosch wine estate Quoin Rock is not only in the business of growing grapes and making wine to sell, but with its stunning location on the slopes of the Simonsberg, maximising the vistas, it’s in the business of making memories courtesy of its highly rated restaurant, Gåte. This Easter Sunday – April 12 – it’s offering two Epicurean options to patrons visiting the property; the one a casual picnic that Quoin Rock has dubbed “bistronomy” and the other being a serious fine dining experience. The Easter picnic is R400 a head and allows diners to make the most of the outdoors by packing them off with a basket full of tasty delicacies. For adults there is sustainable foie gras, panna cotta, cheese and charcuterie, all carefully packed for each guest – with a few gourmet surprises to seal the deal. Unlimited still and sparkling water is included. Children take control of their own feast in a woven basket. Inside will be rootstock crisps, a chocolate or strawberry milkshake,
handmade cookies, seasonal berries and a mac-’n-cheese. Kids will also be able to create their own Easter egg basket with the help of the Whimsical entertainers, and then head off on an exciting Easter egg hunt. The basket, plus entertainment and participation in the egg hunt is R250 per child. The upmarket gourmet experience at Gåte restaurant will be available from 12:00-17:00. A six- course lunch highlights the latest innovations from the estate’s topend kitchen for R1 240 with either a unique tea pairing or wine pairing, which includes service fee. On the children’s menu (R300 per child) will be a Bunny Hopper or chocolate Monster milkshake – and, like the picnic, they’ll be able to build their own Easter basket with the Whimsical entertainers helping out, plus an Easter egg hunt followed by the choice of a mac-’n-cheese or a burger. Whimsical’s crew will also amuse with glitter tattoos, face paint and hair spray. Reservations are essential and all tickets should be pre-purchased on http:// quoinrock.co.za/news-and-events/
MAKING BRANDY TRENDY AGAIN
One of the biggest obstacles or challenges the South African Brandy Foundation faces is changing the negative perception of brandy. The automatic association is of brandy with cola – and lots of it! However, the Brandy Foundation has found that by sharing food and cocktail experiences with members of the public it is possible to change that mindset. Once people learn a bit more about the making of brandy, the different kinds and how truly excellent the South African brandies are, and then taste them either paired with food or mixed in a cocktail, it’s a much easier sell Christelle Reade-Jahn of the Foundation said. Here’s a recipe for you to try in the comfort of your own home to impress friends and family with your mixology skills!
The Brandle INGREDIENTS: 2 5ml potstill cape brandy 5 0ml naartjie juice 1 5ml Van Der Hum 1 5ml sugar syrup 1 00ml Schweppes Soda water or lemonade G arnish with orange slices GLASS: Tall Cocktail METHOD: Build and stir over ice Fine South African potstill brandies are available at most liquor retailers. For more information about South African Brandy visit www.sabrandy.co.za
LAST TASTE OF SUMMER
March is a month of slight desperation. Winter lurks and starts to make itself felt in April so March is the period in which to make the most of those last warm, sunny days. Weekends are the times when friends and family gather, to relax and take it easy – and that’s how entertaining and feeding everyone should be: easy and light. This unfussy and simple to prepare Thai-style salad is a refreshing addition to the lunch repertoire and can be enjoyed both as a side dish or a light meal. It’s easy to assemble and packs a big punch of flavour. If you need to boost it and make it a touch more substantial, just add some shredded roasted chicken or sliced smoked chicken for a meaty variation that’ll stand on its own as a delicious main course. Toss the salad with the peanut dressing just before serving. One suggestion is that it be enjoyed with Spier Signature Sauvignon Blanc which offers up intense aromas of gooseberries, passion fruit, green fig with an undertone of green pepper on the nose. The palate is fresh and mouth-watering with wellbalanced acidity.
Crunchy Thai salad with peanut dressing INGREDIENTS: 3 -4 cups red cabbage, finely shredded 2 -3 cups gem lettuce, finely shredded 1 yellow or red pepper, finely sliced 1 large carrot, finely julienned or shredded A handful fresh mint, finely sliced A handful fresh coriander, finely sliced 1 /2 cup roasted salted peanuts For the dressing: 1 /3 cup (80 ml) smooth plain peanut butter 3 0-45 ml (2-3 Tblsp) fresh lime or lemon juice 3 0 ml (2 Tblsp) honey 1 5 ml (1 Tblsp) soy sauce 3 0 ml (2 Tblsp) water at room temperature 1 knob of fresh ginger, finely grated (about 2-3 tsp) 1 small garlic clove, finely grated s alt & pepper to taste METHOD: Toss all the ingredients together (cabbage, lettuce, red pepper, carrot, mint, coriander, peanuts) in a large mixing bowl. Mix all the dressing ingredients together in a small mixing bowl using a hand whisk or stick blender (it takes some elbow grease by hand) to form a smooth sauce. Pour half the dressing over the salad just before serving and toss to coat. Serve the remainder of the dressing on the side. This recipe serves 4-6 as a side dish.
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CONTEMPORARY CULTURE THESE DAYS IS ABOUT MINDFULNESS; CARING FOR OTHERS, CARING FOR THE PLANET AND ALSO CARING ABOUT OURSELVES AND OUR LONG TERM HEALTH.
ou are what you eat” is frequently heard in both a positive and negative sentiment. Up-and-coming culinary star Izelle Hoffman knows this all too well. This Northern Cape native was born with congenital hip dysplasia and underwent 14 different surgeries during the course of her childhood. With so much time spent in hospital, she knows the benefits of a healthy diet. Hoffman is on a culinary crusade to change the way people think about their food and the relationship they have with it. It’s not about right or wrong but about making informed choices which can benefit overall health, she believes. It’s the reason she wrote Mindful Eating – and also why the book is subtitled: 78 recipes to eat your way to better health. How many people know, for example, that regulating blood sugar by eating sweet potato not only benefits insulin levels in the bloodstream but that this humble tuber also boasts anti-inflammatory properties too? Honey is not only a great alternative to refined white sugar but it has antiviral and anti-fungal benefits too. These are just two of the many valuable snippets of information contained in the book. The recipes cover all the bases: from breakfasts which are not only healthy but really tasty and diverse, to quick and easy lunches and dinners which are substantial as well as nutritious. As the promo blurb for Mindful Eating states: “Mindful Eating is more than a cookbook; it is an inspirational and motivational guide to leading a healthy lifestyle through good eating.” Hoffman believes that eating the right foods and choosing a life of wellness can also incorporate traditional African styles of cooking, where raw ingredients and freshness are priority. Like so many South Africans, growing your own vegetables and experimenting with different flavours was always a part of Izelle’s upbringing. With both her grandmother and her mother boasting a world class vegetable garden and her aunt, who was the moderator of Home Economics for the North West province, Izelle’s development into a ‘’conscious foodie’’ was inevitable. She might not have trained as a chef but her life spent growing up in a household where great food that was always a comfort and source of nourishment, it was almost preordained or a natural progression for her to take inspiration from the dishes she grew up with and turn them into a modern, playful and healthy culinary experience.
FOR THE WIN: BREAKFAST OF CHAMPIONS I am quite the morning person and love getting out of bed on the right foot (pun intended), but then I have to kick-start the day with a champion breakfast. These breakfasts are guaranteed to put a smile on your gorgeous face that you’ll wear all day. You’re welcome!
HOMEMADE CHOCOLATE PUFFED RICE Servings: 8–10
4 cups puffed brown rice 4 cups puffed white rice 1 Tbsp caramel essence 1 Tbsp vanilla essence ¼ cup almond butter 2 Tbsp olive oil ¼ cup raw honey 3 heaped Tbsp raw cacao powder 2 tsp Oryx desert salt 1 Preheat the oven to 150 °C and line a baking tray with baking paper. 2 Mix the brown and white puffed rice in a large mixing bowl. 3 Combine the remaining ingredients in a small mixing bowl until the almond butter is properly mixed with the olive oil and honey. 4 Pour over the puffed rice and mix well. 5 Transfer the mixture to the lined baking tray. 6 Bake for 8 minutes, then give it a stir and bake for another 7 minutes. 7 Allow to cool properly for about 45 minutes and then store in an airtight container. It will keep for 1 - 2 weeks in the pantry or can be frozen for up to 3 months. NOTE:
One can use 8 cups of either white or brown rice, but I prefer it 50/50. White for the crunch and brown for the fibre.
A COPY OF MINFDFUL EATING To qualify, send an e-mail or a postcard clearly marked Cheers Book Giveaway and containing your name, ID number, physical address (not a PO Box please!) along with a contact telephone number to qualify for the lucky draw.
ADDRESS: email@example.com or Cheers, PO Box 259, Rondebosch 7701. ENTRY DEADLINE: 15TH APRIL 2020 See T&C’s on pg 04 LIKE us on www.facebook.com/CheersMag to double your chance of winning.
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CHOC CHIP BLONDIES Servings: 12–16 blondies
2 x 410 g cans chickpeas, drained and rinsed 6 Tbsp raw honey 100 g almond butter 1 tsp vanilla essence 2 tsp caramel essence 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda 50 g almond flour 1 tsp Oryx desert salt 2 large eggs 100 g dairy-free dark chocolate, chopped (I prefer Gayleen’s Decadence)
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1 Preheat the oven to 180 °C on thermo-fan. Line a 20 x 20 cm baking pan with baking paper and spray with non-stick cooking spray. 2 Place the chickpeas in the bowl of a food processor and blend until smooth. Add all the other ingredients, except the eggs and chocolate, and process on high for 3–5 minutes, scraping down the sides, until the mixture is smooth and well blended. (If you don’t have a food processor, you can pulp the chickpeas with a blender, add the rest of the ingredients and beat with an electric beater for 2 minutes on high speed.) 3 Beat the eggs in a separate bowl until light and fluffy, then add to the chickpea mixture and beat for another 30 seconds to mix well. Fold in the chocolate chunks.
4 Spoon the mixture into the prepared baking pan, level it out and bake for 15–20 minutes. The edges will be crispy and firm to the touch, while the centre will remain moist and soft. 5 Allow to cool completely in the pan before cutting into squares and serving. The centre will firm up a bit while cooling, but will remain perfectly moist and soft. NOTE:
These gluten-free soft and fudgy blondies are bursting with healthy flavour, are naturally sweetened and are the perfect dessert to sneak in some protein-packed chickpeas.
SOY AND SESAME BEEF STRIPS Servings: 4
2 Tbsp olive oil 3 spring onions, chopped 1 heaped tsp crushed garlic 1 medium red, orange or yellow bell pepper, cut into strips (keep the seeds) 600 g beef strips 5 Tbsp soy sauce or tamari 2 Tbsp sesame seeds 1 tsp ground black pepper 1/4 cup raw honey ½ tsp Oryx desert salt
All-time favourite! I prefer serving it with unsweetened almond milk and a pinch of love. Now you can enjoy it guilt-free with a healthy smile on your face.
CREAMY GARLIC AND BUTTERBEAN SOUP WITH OVEN-ROASTED CHICKPEAS servings: 8–10
SOUP 2 Tbsp olive oil 4 x 410 g cans butterbeans, drained and processed or blended until smooth 8 cups unsweetened almond milk 2 heaped tsp crushed garlic 4 tsp almond flour 5 tsp Oryx desert salt 1 tsp ground black pepper 1 Tbsp dried rosemary 6 Tbsp raw honey zest and juice of 2 lemons 100 g spinach, chopped 4 celery stalks, chopped 4 large carrots, sliced 2 handfuls of chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 Handful of chopped fresh Italian parsley 2 Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over medium heat and fry the spring onions, garlic, bell pepper and reserved seeds for about 5 minutes to release their flavour, then add the beef strips and fry until the meat is golden brown. 3 In a small bowl, mix the soy sauce or tamari, sesame seeds, black pepper, honey and salt. Add this to the pan once the meat is cooked, and simmer for about 15 minutes or until most of the moisture has evaporated. 4 Add the chopped fresh parsley, remove from the heat and allow to cool completely before placing in an airtight container and storing in the fridge to use when needed. NOTE:
Be on the lookout for tamari, a more mature gluten-free alternative to soy sauce. A winner served with rice and green beans!
OVEN-ROASTED CHICKPEAS 2 x 410 g cans chickpeas, drained 1 Tbsp olive oil ½ tsp Oryx desert salt ¼ tsp ground black pepper 1 tsp paprika Pinch of dried parsley 1 Spray a large saucepan with non-stick cooking spray. Add all the soup ingredients and bring to the boil over low heat, stirring regularly. Cook for about 45 minutes until the vegetables are soft and the soup is lovely and thick. 2 While the soup is cooking, preheat the oven to 220 °C and spray a baking tray with non-stick cooking spray or line with baking paper. 3 Rinse the chickpeas and pat dry with paper towel. 4 Place the chickpeas in a mixing bowl and stir in the oil, salt, black pepper, paprika and parsley. 5 Spread the chickpeas on the greased baking tray and bake for 15–25 minutes until crispy. 6 Serve the soup sprinkled with the oven-roasted chickpeas. MAR/APR 2020
SWART FLUWEEL TEKSTUUR, DIE GEVOEL VAN IETS – OF DIT MET DIE HAND SE STREEL OF DIE TONG SE SLUK IS – WORD BAIE ONDERSKAT. MAAR MENG TEKSTUUR MET GEUR OF SMAAK EN DIS ’N WENKOMBINASIE.
ynde van Ierse afkoms is die bier in my glas gewoonlik swart eerder as goudbruin. Vir ons halfgebakte Iere is Guinness, die dop met die gitswart lyf en die romerige wit skuimkroon, meer van ’n noodsaaklikheid en voedingsbron as ’n partytjie-genoot. En daardie diep, ryk geur van geroosterde mout is sommer ook gepas in die kombuis waar dit as bymiddel menige gereg aanvul. Maar voor daar by die spyse uitgekom word, neem tog hierdie Guinness-drankie ter harte: neem ’n bierglas en maak hom halfvol met Cap Classique-vonkelwyn of, as jy in ’n uitspattige staatsgekaapte bui is, Franse sjampanje. Top nou die glas op met yskoue Guinness. Die mengsel staan as Black Velvet bekend, en is ’n rojale manier om jouself te bederf en te bewys dat jy – die Guinness-drinker – darem ook jou wyn waardeer. As daar met Guinness gekook word, gaan die gereg sielskos wees, dis nou maar so. En hoewel die Walliesers die Welsh Rarebit hul eie gemaak het, word hierdie gereg danksy ’n skeut Guinness vervolmaak.
Neem ’n bierglas en maak hom halfvol met Cap Classiquevonkelwyn of, as jy in ’n uitspattige staatsgekaapte bui is, Franse sjampanje. Top nou die glas op met yskoue Guinness. Die mengsel staan as Black Velvet bekend, en is ’n rojale manier om jouself te bederf en te bewys dat jy – die Guinness-drinker – darem ook jou wyn waardeer.
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Emile Joubert is a PR practitioner by profession, but a food and wine enthusiast by desire. Check out his blog: www.winegoggle.co.za
BESTANDDELE VIR VIER PORSIES, OF TWEE AS DIE MENSE HONGER IS:
2 eetlepels botter 2 eetlepels meel 1 teelepel mosterd – Dijon eerder as Hot English 1 teelepel Worcester-sous ½ teelepel sout ½ teelepel varsgemaalde swartpeper ½ koppie Guinness ¾ koppie room 1 ½ koppies gerasperde cheddarkaas 3 druppels Tabasco-sous 4 snye geroosterde brood – rog is veral lekker. DIE TEGNIEK IS NIE TE VEELEISEND NIE 1 Plaas ’n kleinerige kastrol op ’n plaat wat lig-warm is en smelt die botter daarin. Roer die meel deur die gesmelte botter en hou aan roer vir 2 tot 3 minute om die meel gaar te kry, maar moenie dat dit bruin raak nie. 2 Voeg die mosterd, Worcester-sous asook sout en peper by, en roer of klits totdat dit ’n sysagte beslag vorm. Roer die Guinness deur als, en dan die room. Wanneer dit gemeng is, laat die kaas geleidelik in die beslag val en roer aanhoudend totdat dit in die heerlikheid ingesmelt is. Dit gaan sowat 4 tot 5 minute neem. 3 Drup jou Tabasco by, kry die roosterbrood gereed en skep vir jou ’n ruim laag van hierdie heerlike beslag oor elke stuk brood. Smul.
1 Kap die knoffel en die ui baie, baie fyn en plaas in ’n mengbak. Doen dieselfde met die dragon en pietersielie, en sit by. En dan die Worcester-sous, mosterd, Guinness, sojasous en die ander geurmiddels. Roer als mooi deur. Dis donker, en blink. Mooi. 2 Laat die mengsel teen kamertemperatuur staan vir sowat ’n uur – die geure moet mekaar leer ken. 3 As jy varksnitte gaan braai, laat die snitte in die marinade lê vir 4 tot 12 uur. Hoender, sowat 2 tot 6 uur. 4 Haal vleis uit en neem stelling in by die braaiplek. 5 Voeg nog ’n koppie Guinness by die oorblywende marinade. Terwyl daar gebraai word, bedrup die sous sorgvuldig oor die vleis. 6 Hou koue glase Guinness byderhand om te sorg daardie tikkie Ierse geluk bly behoue.
’N SOUSIE As daar van Guinness, Ierland en die koue Noorde gepraat word, is braaivleis gewoonlik onderaan die lys van besprekingspunte. Watwou – daai getroue swartbier maak ’n voortreflike marinade en bedruipsous vir die braai van veral vark en hoender. NEEM:
1 koppie Guinness 4 huisies knoffel 2 eetlepels sojasous ½ ui 1 eetlepel Worcester-sous 1 eetlepel mosterd, Dijon of Amerikaans 1 teelepel dragon 1 teelepel pietersielie 1 teelepel sout 1 teelepel varsgemaalde swartpeper MAR/APR 2020
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T E R E S A U LYA T E
IN VOGUE FOOD STYLING DEPENDS ON COLOUR. VIVID REDS, BRIGHT YELLOW OR ORANGE AND THEN THE POP OF GREEN. WHAT HAPPENS WHEN YOU REMOVE THOSE VIBRANT ELEMENTS? AND THE QUESTION REMAINS: IS THE FOOD AS TASTY?
t’s well known that you eat with your eyes first. I’m a huge advocate for “eating the rainbow”, but in this issue I’m deviating from my usual style to try something a little different – dishes of the monochromatic variety! On the savoury side I’ve put together a wholesome chicken bowl which I believe answers the question of tastiness versus visual appeal. What it lacks in colour it makes up for in flavour thanks to the delicious macadamia dukkah and punchy Dijon vinaigrette that are added to the dish. In fact, double up the quantities of these when you are making it and keep the leftovers in the fridge to add to your salads! Serve this chicken bowl up as a filling, healthy lunch or as a light and easy supper. And you cannot underestimate the impact that the dark rice has! Dessert is a true two tone affair and I’ve used charcoal to colour the digestive style cookies for these black and white s’mores. (It does make baking them a little tricky, as you can’t use the colour of the cookie to help gauge whether they’re done, but check for a set centre and edges and you’ll be good to go.) These are grown up s’mores with a dark chocolate and marshmallow filling. And don’t worry if you don’t have the braai going – you can toast the marshmallows over a gas flame, or pop them in the microwave for a few seconds until they’re deliciously gooey. Enjoy!
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CHICKEN AND RICE SALAD BOWL Serves 2
FOR THE MACADAMIA DUKKAH:
45 ml macadamias 15 ml flaked almonds 10 ml white sesame seeds 5 ml black sesame seeds 5 ml ground cumin 1.25 ml ground coriander Pinch of salt FOR THE DIJON VINAIGRETTE:
30 ml apple cider vinegar 60 ml olive oil 10 ml Dijon mustard 1.25 ml garlic paste Salt and pepper to taste TO ASSEMBLE:
2 cups small cauliflower florets Olive oil for drizzling Salt 2 free range chicken breast fillets 125 ml black rice, cooked 1S tart by making the dukkah. Place all of the dukkah ingredients in a food processor and blitz until combined and finely chopped. Set aside. 2 Place all of the vinaigrette ingredients in a small bowl and whisk until combined. Alternatively place the ingredients in a jar, pop the lid on and shake vigorously for a few seconds to combine. Set aside. 3 Preheat the oven to 180ºC and line a small baking tray with baking paper. Arrange the cauliflower on the tray. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt. Roast the cauliflower for 30 minutes. 4 While the cauliflower is roasting prepare the chicken. Coat the chicken fillets lightly in the macadamia dukkah. Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a frying pan and fry the fillets until cooked through. 5 Divide the black rice between two bowls. Slice the chicken fillets and arrange on the rice along with the roasted cauliflower. Drizzle with vinaigrette and sprinkle with extra dukkah before serving.
Teresa Ulyate is a multi-tasking working mom who juggles a job, children and a blog cupcakesandcouscous.com
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T E R E S A U LYA T E
1 Combine the flour, charcoal, baking powder and light brown sugar in a bowl. Add the butter and rub together until incorporated and the mixture starts to clump together. (You can do this step by hand or use a food processor.) 2 Add the milk and mix until the dough comes together. Flatten the dough into a disc, wrap and Makes 10 chill in the fridge for 30 minutes. 250ml whole meal wheat flour 3 While the dough is chilling preheat the oven to 170ÂşC and line a baking tray with baking paper. 4 Place the disc of dough between two sheets of baking paper and roll out to a thickness of about 30ml activated charcoal 4mm. Use a 6-7 cm cutter to cut out circles, and arrange these on the baking tray. 2.5ml baking powder 5 Bake the cookies for 15 minutes, or until the edges and centres have set. Transfer to a cooling 60ml light brown sugar rack to cool. 100g butter, cubed 6 Place a square of dark chocolate on 10 of the charcoal cookies. Toast the marshmallows over the 25ml milk braai until soft and starting to char. Quickly pop a hot marshmallow onto each piece of chocolate. 10 squares of dark chocolate 7 Top with another cookie, press down lightly and enjoy immediately. 10 white marshmallows
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FARM TO TABLE LOCAL IS LEKKER FOR SPIER
Spier is –with Delheim and Simonsig – one of the three pioneers of the Stellenbosch Wine Route. The historic property which boasts more than just a winery and tasting centre (conference centre, hotel, amphitheatre, multiple restaurants) is virtually a one-stop-shop in the winelands and truly has something for everyone. Revamped and rejuvenated towards the end of 2019, the Spier Farm Café, housed in a gabled Cape Dutch building, now serves breakfast and lunch against the backdrop of rolling lawns and nearly 300-year-old majestic oak trees on the farm’s historic werf. The Spier Farm Café’s Chef, Hennie Nel, is passionate about cooking honest, authentic and unpretentious food using top quality ingredients. Passionate about the environment, he and his team recycles as much as possible, sending minimal waste to landfill. In keeping with Spier’s sustainability ethos, local and ethical sourcing is also a priority. Farmer Angus McIntosh supplies the Café with meat reared on Spier’s pastures (without hormones or routine antibiotics) as well as eggs laid by happy, outdoor-roaming hens. The Café’s fresh bread and exquisitely flaky croissants are baked a stone’s throw away, at Vadas Smokehouse and Bakery. Star of the breakfast menu is the Eggs Benedict but it’s closely rivalled by the sourdough waffle with dark chocolate, raw honey and cream. Adding to the enjoyment are freshly squeezed daily juices or expertly poured Tribe coffee in cups handcrafted by Kleinmond-based ceramicist Corinne de Haas. The signature lunch dish is the 200g beef burger with yummy pork fat fried potato roasties. A fantastic option for family-style sharing is the Farmer Angus rotisserie chicken accompanied by wholesome potatoes and veggies. “We want every diner to enjoy themselves here, and to leave happy and satisfied,” says Nel. This commitment means ensuring a wide range of mouthwatering options for vegetarians and vegans too. Be sure to try the colourful vegetable tartine and nutritious cauliflower and harissa grain salad. The Spier Farm Café serves breakfast from 8.00 to 11.00 and lunch from 12.00 to 15.00 from Tuesday to Sundays.
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Paarl wine estate Avondale is one of the most holistic and environmentally ethical farms in the country. Owner Jonathan Grieve is a believer in working with, rather than against, nature. Consequently the emphasis is on a varied biodynamic system with ducks, cattle, fruit orchards, vegetable gardens, compost heaps, cover crops and special preps all forming part of the daily activities and life on the farm. It also allows Avondale to celebrate its farm to fork
philosophy and to share that with paying customers at their restaurant Faber. On March 8 there will be a Field to Feast celebration. “Each event is a unique experience of the Avondale Estate with a journey through the vineyards and food garden,” Grieve maintains. Guests attending will hear entertaining – and real! – stories about how the food is produced and the wines are made in harmony with nature. To book or find out more information, call 021 863 1976 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
SWEET TOFFEE AND NOUGAT TREATS
Worcester, sadly, is not a town visitors beat a path towards. It’s the home of one of the world’s largest brandy cellars as well as an equally world-renowned school for the blind. But it’s also where Overhex wine cellar can be found, just a short drive out of town in the direction of Robertson. And Overhex is trying to tempt visitors to their cellar door by offering them decadently sweet treats: toffee and nougat specifically. At the heart of the Mensa range is storytelling and technology, and when combined with indulgent little morsels, it makes for an ideal spoil. Making new memories and getting to experience something unique is just an added bonus. The Mensa Sauvignon Blanc is paired with a zesty lemon toffee – since zesty fresh citrus is one of the signature elements of the wine. And the toffee brings its own creamy
charm to the pairing party... With its distinct red berry notes, the Mensa Chardonnay Pinot Noir is a hit with strawberry nougat. Similarly, the bold dark chocolate and blackberry in the Mensa Cabernet Sauvignon are elevated by a luscious dark chocolate toffee. Mensa is also vegan friendly and matches well with a good book or can be comfortably enjoyed while swapping stories with besties at the book club. The Mensa Sweet Pairing Experience is available at the Overhex Tasting Room for R45.
POPPING POSTHARVEST CORKS
Every year, the makers of South African bubbly are the first to harvest. That’s because grapes for bubbly – or Methode Cap Classique if made in the traditional French Champagne way – need to be less ripe than those used for still wines. It’s all about the acidity. So bubbly makers began picking and vinifying their grapes the second week of January and as a result, by March their work is almost done and dusted – just as most other wine farmers are getting fully into the swing of things. There’s one event which promises to see the corks fly in celebration of the hard work being over. Dubbed the PostHarvest Proe Party, this festive fling will feature a tasting of top-notch Cap Classique wine over lunch at Genevieve MCC’s owner Melissa Nelsen’s farm near Bot River on Saturday, 7 March. “We’re pulling out the stops for this one,” said Melissa. “Cap Classique, like
HEAD FOR THE HILLS
Cape Town residents are lucky enough to have Durbanville Hills winery virtually on their doorstep. Cellarmaster Martin Moore and his winemaking team are throwing open the winery doors this year, allowing members of the public a sneak peek at what happens in a working cellar during harvest. It’s a two month period where winemakers get to do the one thing they do best – turn grape juice into wine! Every Wednesday until 18 March Durbanville Hills will welcome visitors to the cellar at 18h30. The experience will include the chance to taste fermenting juice straight from the tank
the best wines, takes time to make and reflects the seasons. To open a bottle is to taste the sunshine of a particular year and that’s exactly what’s on offer at the Proe Party.” A large part of the excitement for this tasting extravaganza is that it will happen at the home of Genevieve MCC, a venue new to many. For years, grapes for Genevieve MCC came from pockets of Chardonnay across the region, albeit always from Bot River. In 2017 however, Genevieve MCC finally found a home when Melissa discovered a working farm where her dream for a space to give visitors the “MCC experience” became a reality. It all began in 2010, when the first Genevieve MCC was released – a product of the 2008 vintage. Melissa had always had a love for bubbly and when the opportunity arose to make it, she jumped. Genevieve is her second name and the patron saint of Paris, making Genevieve MCC the perfect link between great South African Cap Classique made in the style of French Champagne. Places are limited so booking is essential. The festivities kick off from 12h30 on March 7. To book, simply send an email to email@example.com.
– while the yeast is still doing its work and converting all the grape sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide. Guests will also get to sample wines straight from the barrel in another sneak preview as these wines will only be released later in the year after being bottled and labelled. The evening is then finished off with a two course dinner and wine at the winery’s award-winning restaurant The Tangram. The cost is R315 and bookings are essential and can be made by calling Aidan Samuels on 021 558 1300 or by emailing him firstname.lastname@example.org. www.durbanvillehills.co.za
TOPS AT SPAR WINEDERLAND! Warm seas, balmy breezes, shorts and t-shirts. That’s what a tough Durban winter is like from May to September! And the country’s premier coastal city holiday destination is also the first to kick off the annual TOPS at SPAR wine show, with the 2020 event promising new and exciting features. SPAR Group Liquor Manager Mark Robinson said, based on the success of the series of 2019 events held nationwide, the SPAR Group was expanding its presence. “With its refreshed identity and renewed enthusiasm for bringing you a taste of what the winelands has to offer, you’re guaranteed a quality wine experience!” The first WINEderland event in Durban, from 7 – 9 May will see a dedicated food element included for the first time – although precise details are not yet known. The TOPS at SPAR wine show is now in its 14th year and seven events will take place nationwide during the course of the year. “We invite our guests to step into the South African winelands: to experience the beautiful landscapes, drink in the rich aromas, meet the colourful characters, and most of all, indulge in our globally celebrated wines,” said Andrew Douglas, show owner and producer. The WINEderland Tour kicks off in Durban from 7 to 9 May, followed by Johannesburg from 4 to 6 June, Cape Town from 9 to 11 July, Port Elizabeth from 30 July to 1 August, Pretoria from 1 to 3 October, East London from 5 to 7 November, and ending off in Nelspruit from 26 to 28 November. Each three-day event offers something for almost every wine lover: interactive wine theatres, show specials, and free sip-n-ship service along with a massively popular social opportunity to have a great night out with friends. This year, the show has an extensive brand refresh that delivers all the excitement of stepping into the winelands.
MIKE AND THE MECHANICS SANG ABOUT LOOKING BACK, OVER MY SHOULDER. GARETH GEORGE ALSO CAST A GLANCE OR TWO â€“ OVER THE PAST YEAR AND HIS EXPLOITS WITH ROD AND REEL.
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It’s the realisation of another year passing you by that drives home the simple truth: that time is one commodity you just can’t buy, so you better spend it wisely.
MAIN IMAGE: A traditional sailing dhow appears miniscule when viewed against the magnificent azure backdrop of the low tide shallows and sea grass meadows of Mozambique’s Bazaruto marine reserve
eflecting on a fishing year can be an exercise in frustration, when you weigh up the hours actually spent fishing versus the time you anticipated doing so at the beginning of the season. Excuses are plentiful, most validated by the need to bring home the bacon and lacking the time to indulge yourself. It’s the realisation of another year passing you by that drives home the simple truth: that time is one commodity you just can’t buy, so you better spend it wisely. I get to fish more than most folk but then I live in the heart of trout country and am also fortunate enough that my passion for fly fishing is also how I earn a crust. Yet pictures and programmes rarely tell the timeline of any journey and 2019 has seen our intrepid bunch of anglers sweat bullets for any result. An Angolan tarpon adventure kicked off my year, but with rains not falling in the highland it meant an absence of fish in the Kwanza estuary. An utterly frustrating six days without a single finned creature! This was immediately followed by a road trip across the boerewors curtain to Ghuki Ghuki and a chance to hone dry fly skills. On the day of our arrival, Van Der Kloof dam further upstream, decided to release water. The net result was that our flies stayed dry … very dry! Four days and not a rod even assembled. En route back home, an attempt to recover the tour at Sterkies saw an initial run on the sight fishing that this beautiful lake is renowned for. Sadly, a kidney stone had other ideas, giving me a few days in hospital to sulk about the sad state of affairs. Fortunately March kept me at home base and the onset of autumn restored my spirits with some productive sessions on the brown trout rivers and trophy rainbow lakes that WildFly has nurtured since the turn of the century. 54 w w w .t o p s a t s p a r. c o . z a
ABOVE: From leaving a rippling wake while gently motoring up a tree-lined inland waterway, to coral atolls in clear, azure blue seas, creating content for a fishing-focussed television series has Gareth George (below) living the dream... and landing the odd finned critter. OPPOSITE PAGE: From a bucket list Giant Trevally in the tropics of Seychelles (top left), a nice sized yellow on the Orange river (top right), the familiar fly waters of the KwaZulu-Natal midlands (centre) and the convivial festivities of the annual TOPS at SPAR Corporate Challenge at Notties, 2019 was quite a year!
With a new Four Seasons hotel opening, Desroches in the Seychelles was next on the cards and I can honestly say that I didn’t sleep the week before, such was my overwhelming excitement … until we got there! Weather has scuppered many a fishing excursion, but to have nothing but rain for the next four days and a sea that no skipper would attempt to fish in, witnessed the dampened spirit go demented. Fortunately a brief day’s break in the storm got us onto St Joseph’s and I revelled in the acceleration of the bonefish and wallowed in being able to land the holy grail of the IndoPacific permit. My mojo was back and the wheel really turned in April with an invite to the legendary atolls of Farquhar and Alphonse, with Fly Castaway and the Alphonse Fishing Company respectively. Fishing is measured by many scales, but in the two decades that I have been filming with a fly, never have I experienced such an incredible salt water fishery. There was scarcely a species that wasn’t ticked off the bucket list, and witnessing the GT’s around the feeding frenzy of birds off Goelette island was as humbling as it gets. It is worth noting that during the 18 days that these three unbelievable destinations were available to explore, only eight were fishable due to the torrid climatic conditions. A trip to Mozambique, hosting prize winners, was squeezed in during May, forcing me to polish my guiding skills and getting a fresh appreciation for the marine life off the coast of Bazaruto island. June/July was the TOPS at SPAR Corporate Challenge, now in its 18th year, and once again set a festivity benchmark that keeps Notties legendary. As host, I don’t fish, but vicariously reliving the fly fishing exploits with every entrant after each day is immensely satisfying, knowing that the trout have thrived despite being in a drought cycle in South Africa. And it is always the weather gods which have the last say; the August and September winds and unsettling pressure systems destroyed a lot of chances to tour, but we forced a “Kalahari Outventure” down the mighty Orange. Words cannot do that experience justice. Majestic scenery, translucent water teeming with large and small mouth yellows is only surpassed by the lack of digital interference and the unique camaraderie that a rafting adventure embodies. Early October took us back to my favourite wilderness area on the planet, the lower Zambezi at Bains River Camp … but the wind was relentless. It might have given us respite from the 40 degree heat, but it
was enough to give you ingrown hairs. A trip to IFTD in Colorado, the greatest fishing trade show in the world, followed. It was just a stone’s throw from the Rockies but that, and some time in chalk stream territory in the UK, was not long enough for me to strap on waders or gear up for a few hours of casting a fly in the waters. Being deprived of meaningful fly time by November, the Koi in the pond started to look appealing … but again thankfully I’m in the trout belt and many know that this is the most underrated lake fishing month of the year. So with a bunch of reprobates I enjoyed the finest weekend of trout fishing that I can recall, ending my year on a complete high.
I can never say that I don’t get the opportunity to fish, but I can safely say that last year we literally bled for those that we landed. I’ve often wondered how many casts it takes to catch a fish, but compound fractions just aren’t my forte. Fortunately on our fishing journeys it’s the “Royal We” that captures the memories and I’m lucky enough to have Brad, Jeremy and Rhuan to enjoy some unforgettable expeditions with. When it comes to your fishing year, remember it’s only with good mates that you’ll savour any experience. And, above all, time doesn’t stand still, so don’t let any opportunity go begging.
ACTION! AT JUST 2.1 SECONDS LONG, THE ROUNDHAY GARDEN SCENE IS CONSIDERED THE FIRST “MOVIE” EVER FILMED. IT WAS BY FRENCH INVENTOR LOUIS LE PRINCE. BUT IT WAS THE PUBLIC SCREENING OF A NUMBER OF THE LUMIÈRE BROTHERS’ SHORT FILMS IN PARIS IN DECEMBER 1895 THAT IS BELIEVED TO BE THE BIRTH OF THE MODERN MOTION PICTURE INDUSTRY. GREG LANDMAN REPORTS ON ITS DEVELOPMENT.
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echnology is constantly changing the world around us. Consider if you will the changes that have happened in the last 50 years. Just in movies, the news reels preceding the main event are no more, the video industry came and went, superceded by the compact disc and also the Blu-ray disc. High-definition and even 3D have made the movie watching experience almost unimaginably lush and rich in detail – even celluloid film no longer exists. Almost everything is shot digitally. And that’s before considering how George Lucas and Star Wars with its special effects created its own world, one in which CGI – or computer generated imagery – has altered the entire business of movie making. And it’s only been a little over 100 years that the world has been able to watch moving pictures! Wikipedia reports that in the 1890s, films were acts in vaudeville programmes or travelling exhibitions. Extremely brief – literally a minute or two long – they portrayed something from everyday life; a horse pulling a cart, a busy street in New York or London, a ship being unloaded, nothing of any great import but the novelty of watching a moving image was startling to those fortunate enough to view it.
But early adopters of this new technology grew the motion picture industry to where it is today, a multi-billion dollar worldwide industry. There’s the original Hollywood, and since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, India has Bollywood and Nigeria Nollywood! When the limitations of the filmic medium were restricted to black and white, that’s what the audiences got – black and white. And then along came sound in the late 1920s. By 1930 talking pictures saw a number of the smaller producers fall by the wayside because of the cost attached to this new medium. Colour made its debut in 1932 but the first technicolour film was 1935’s The Vanities Fair. 85 years later and anyone with the right app and software on their mobile phone can make a movie! So why, with all this technology available, do some moviemakers and directors still choose the medium of black and white? Possibly because this world we live in is one of light and shade and man has always been intrigued by the infinite varieties of colour – so stripping out all that visual stimulation is the challenge to directors. Strangely enough, the modern use of black and white is more expensive as labs
“Certain things leave you in your life and certain things stay with you. And that’s why we’re all interested in movies- those ones that make you feel, you still think about. Because it gave you such an emotional response, it’s actually part of your emotional make-up, in a way.” - Tim Burton worldwide are geared to the colour process. When it comes to black and white filmmaking there are some superb examples, from the early classics to some modern ones. The use of colour as a metaphor for enlightenment has also intrigued some filmmakers, notably in the 1998 film Pleasantville. The story goes that David and his sister Jennifer are 1990 TV addicts who somehow are sucked into a rerun of a 1950 sitcom called Pleasantville. They find themselves in a squeaky clean world of the US in the ’50s, a world where nothing goes wrong and everyone is happy – all the time. David works out that they are now the characters
ABOVE: Betty Parker, played by Joan Allen, starts to become colourful in the 1998 movie Pleasantville. The concept is so alien in this 1950’s sitcom world that she applies grey makeup to fit in with her peers.
Bud and Mary Sue and while figuring out how to get back to their own world, they’d better play along. Their way of living and thinking begins to influence those around them – they gradually begin to colour. The effect is riveting and makes a wonderful point as the viewers – and the protagonists – see the transformation. Naturally, some characters are afraid of what’s happening, but most embrace it. One of the most touching scenes is where their Pleasantville mother finds herself with more and more colour but is reluctant to reveal it to the neighbours. Bud helps her to apply grey makeup to hide her gradual metamorphosis, her journey to
full enlightenment. Here colour is seen to be enhancing their lives. One of the most famous uses of colour versus black and white is in the classic Wizard of Oz where Dorothy lands in mythical Oz after a hurricane and, as she opens the door of the house she was in, is transported into a magical beautifully coloured bright world. This is especially effective on a Blu-ray disc of the cleaned up version where the leaves have a shine never before seen in previous versions. And Mad Max: Fury Road – although filmed in colour was released in two versions on DVD by director George Miller; the other called appropriately Black and Chrome. MAR/APR 2020
While the colour version is superb, the monochrome picture seems even more compelling with an edgy grittiness denied it in colour. Schindler’s List (1993) used targeted colour in a scene where a young girl wears a red coat while the rest of the film is in black and white, symbolising the sacrificial nature of the Holocaust. Possibly the most acclaimed modern monochrome movie was The Artist (2011) which effectively used its black and white photography to evoke the era in which it was set, while the gorgeous soundtrack helped convey the spirit of the picture. Interestingly, although the film was presented in black and white, it was shot in colour! It was a controversial choice for the Oscars, winning Best Picture and Best Actor, but ultimately was embraced by the cognoscenti. It was the first black and white winner since Schindler’s List and the first almost all silent picture since 1929’s Wings. Director Michel Hazanavicius said: “We have made The Artist as a love letter to the silent era of Hollywood”. Comedies that worked wonderfully in black and white include Young Frankenstein, Mel Brooks’ hilarious sendup of classic horror pictures, and Billy Wilder’s tenderly funny Some Like it Hot, in which the last line, when Joe E. Brown is told that Jack Lemmon is not a woman says “Well no-one is perfect” is one of the most quoted in movie lore. 58 w w w .t o p s a t s p a r. c o . z a
ABOVE: Is it a long time ago and in a galaxy far, far away? Star Wars’ use of darkness and light, and special effects advanced movie making significantly. South African actress Charlize Theron is central to the action in Mad Max: Fury Road. The commercial release was in full colour but director George Miller gained huge critical acclaim for releasing a second DVD version – in black and white which made the dystopian tale so much more edgy and grittier.
Others in this genre include The Apartment, Tim Burton’s Ed Wood and Stanley Kubrick’s brilliant satire Dr Strangelove with the genius Peter Sellers. Here too is Kevin Smith’s breakout 1994 comedy Clerks which was filmed in black and white because his budget (reportedly only $28 000) didn’t stretch to filming in colour. No story like this would be complete without mentioning classics like Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane with its innovative techniques – like deep focus in which an entire scene is in focus, not just the foreground. Or Psycho with its terrifying shower scene in which Hitchcock used watered down chocolate syrup to get
the real look of blood without colour, and Casablanca with its evocation of nostalgia. And what about Sunset Boulevard which opens with a body floating in a swimming pool shot from below? Director Billy Wilder achieved this by placing a large mirror on the floor of the pool and then filming the images of the body and the cops in refection. Bette Davis and Joan Crawford had a ball in Whatever Happened to Baby Jane and Woody Allen made one of the best homages to New York ever in Manhattan. Whichever way you look at it, the method a director uses to make his point only works if it is gripping and holds your attention from the get go.
LIGHT & DARK IT’S THE YIN AND YANG OF THE COLOUR WORLD. BOLD, GRAPHIC PRINTS AND THE JUXTAPOSITION OF THE DIAMETRICALLY OPPOSED SHADES CAN MAKE POWERFUL STATEMENTS, NO MATTER WHAT MEDIUM IT IS EXPRESSED IN. BLACK AND WHITE NEEDN’T BE BORING.
7 1. QUIRKY QUOTES WALL HANGING | R100 | www.hellopretty.co.za 2. WALL CLOCK 3D SPIRAL | R375 | www.hellopretty.co.za 3. DESIGN CUSHION COVER | R299 | www.yuppiechef.com 4. LE CRUESET MULTI BOWL | R289 | www.yuppiechef.com 5. G.O.T. DINNER PLATE (4 PLATE SET) | R499 | www.mantality.co.za 6. ARM CHAIR CADDY AND ORGANISER | R239 | www.mantality.co.za 7. ROUND PRINTED TOWEL | R330 | www.aplacetoshop.co.za 8. POUCH BAG GRAPHIC BLACK | R490 | www.aplacetoshop.co.za
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E N T E R TA I N M E N T |
OF BOND, PRINCE AND
Emma was the last novel published by renowned author Jane Austen, in DANIEL CRAIG’S SWANSONG AS THE 1816, and it continues her exploration of misreading LEGENDARY BRITISH SECRET AGENT JAMES BOND, 007, HITS THE SILVER SCREEN romantic signals – and SOON, MUSIC LEGEND PRINCE SPEAKS FROM all the dramas that ensue from meddling into the BEYOND THE GRAVE IN A NEWLY PUBLISHED (love) lives of others. BOOK AND SIR BOB GELDOF AND HIS MONDAY Austen provided a rich HATING BOOMTOWN RATS COLLEAGUES MAKE vein for movie directors MUSIC AGAIN. THAT’S ENTERTAINMENT! and actors to mine with her characters in this particular novel, set in the Georgian Regency period in England, with her somewhat unlikeable heroine a highN O T I M E TO D I E spirited, clever, wealthy and spoiled 20-something. As Wikipedia states: Emma is spoiled, headstrong, and selfsatisfied; she greatly overestimates her own matchmaking abilities; she is blind to the dangers of meddling in other people’s lives; and her imagination and perceptions often lead her astray. In the 1996 version Gwyneth Paltrow played the title character. This time around it is Anna Taylor-Joy in the main role while Bill Nighy plays her father and the comedienne Miranda Hart is Miss Bates. top pick Expect a lively comedy performed out with impeccable manners, the odd flutter of fans and batting of eyelashes Bond has left active service and is enjoying a tranquil against a backdrop of life in Jamaica. His peace is short-lived when his old English high society and friend Felix Leiter from the CIA turns up asking for help. The mission to rescue a kidnapped scientist turns beautifully decorated out to be far more treacherous than expected, leading country houses. Bond onto the trail of a mysterious villain armed with dangerous new technology. If the trailer is anything to go by, the movie will once again have audiences flocking to the theatres to catch all the action on the big screen. There’s no Dame Judi Dench but Ralph Fiennes reprises his role as M and Ben Wishaw as Q, the Quartermaster with all the techno goodies. There’s also a return for the silver Aston Martin – and it does donuts as well as it has in previous movies! 60 w w w .t o p s a t s p a r. c o . z a
A QUIET PLACE II Hearing a pin drop – or a radio squawk or baby’s cry – could bring death. That was the premise of A Quiet Place, filmed in 2018. It was a major box office hit and grossed $340 million as well as garnering critical and awards acclaim. Just two years later and the story continues ... Director John Krasinski was convinced to write a sequel and it sees Emily Blunt, Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe back in character as the Abbott family picking up where the previous film left off. This depleted little family are trying to flee the horror that was wrought by the murderous sightless extra-terrestrial critters in the first film which had as its tagline: “If they hear you, they hunt you!” On their fraught – silent – flight in the outside world they meet the new hero, Emmett, played by Cillian Murphy. As the actor said, “Emmett represents where the heart of the world lies right now, which is: finally feeling like they’ve all given up. Here comes this girl (Regan, played by Simmonds) who allows you to believe in more, and allows you to believe in yourself.” But the aliens are not the only antagonists they face ...
CI TI Z E N S O F B O OMTOWN BOOMTOWN RATS It’s entirely appropriate that the Boomtown Rats of “I don’t like Mondays” fame have reunited to release a new album in 2020, the Year of the Rat! Much of the Boomtown Rats’ enduring fame has been incidental because of the high profile the band’s vocalist and frontman, Sir Bob Geldof, maintained as a result of his championing global humanitarian causes. Citizens of Boomtown is the first album recorded by the group which split in 1986. Kicking off the assault on the ears of a new generation is the first single called “Trash Glam Baby”. As Geldof explained when asked why the album now, after so many years, he said: “Because that’s what bands do. They make records. Songwriters write songs. There’s so much to respond to in this new and different febrile atmosphere that we live in. People forget we took our name from Woody Guthrie, the great musical activist. I think The Boomtown Rats have always shown that rock ’n roll is a form of musical activism. The music has intent and purpose even if that is just the sound, about boy/ girl, nothing particularly at all, everything in general, or pointed polemical … whatever.”
DISCLAIMER: All books featured here are supplied by Penquin Random House South Africa
SA D H A P PY CIRCA WAVES Two sides of the same coin – or album, being happy and sad are the conundrum of this “tech-saturated, highly insecure age” the English indie rock band formed in 2013 maintains. It’s why they have tapped into the current appreciation of more depth and content the market requires by releasing a double album, aptly titled Sad Happy. The first half of the album – Sad – was released in late 2019 with the Happy portion released early in 2020. “We live in a world split into two extreme halves,” guitarist and vocalist Kieran Shudall said. “One moment you’re filled with the existential crisis of climate doom and the next you’re distracted by another piece of inconsequential content that has you laughing aloud. “I find this close proximity of immense sadness and happiness so jarring, bizarre and fascinating. Our brains rattle back and forth through emotions at such a rate that happiness and sadness no longer feel mutually exclusive. “This idea was the blueprint for Sad Happy and is the theme that underpins the album. Sad Happy was written in my Liverpool home, it was also hugely inspired by my surroundings and the love I have for the city. It runs through thoughts on mortality, love and observations of people.”
ENGLAND IS A GARDEN CORNERSHOP It’s almost hard to believe that British pop band Cornershop had a smash hit with their song “Brimful of Asha” in 1997. It was off an album When I Was Born for the 7th Time that Rolling Stone magazine declared one of the essential recordings of the 1990s. March sees the release of their newest album, England is a Garden, and true to form both the album tracks and cover art are subtle commentaries on British identity. The first track is reminiscent of the Stones in their heyday with heavy rock foundations. “No Rock: Save In Roll” has been described as Cornershop doing Primal Scream ... when Primal Scream were doing the Stones. On their webpage, the band write that you can’t have rock without the roll – and their inspiration came from their young adulthood, downing a few lagers and then heading out to a night on the town, with rocky metal tunes from the jukebox as a soundtrack.
THE B E AU T I F U L ONES PRINCE From Prince himself comes the brilliant coming-of-ageand-into-superstardom story of one of the greatest artists of all time – featuring never-beforeseen photos, original scrapbooks and lyric sheets, and the exquisite memoir he began writing before his tragic death. Prince was a musical genius, but he was also a startlingly original visionary with a deep imagination, from the sexy, gritty funk paradise of his early records to the mythical landscape of Purple Rain to the psychedelia of Paisley Park. His greatest creative act was turning Prince Rogers Nelson, born in Minnesota, into Prince, one of the greatest pop stars of his era. The Beautiful Ones is the story of how Prince became Prince – a firstperson account of a kid absorbing the world around him and then creating a persona, an artistic vision, and a life, before the hits and fame that would come to define him.
KNIFE JO NESBO Rogue police officer Harry Hole wakes up, predictably hungover – but his hands and clothes are covered in blood! Hole is alone. Rakel has dumped him but the Oslo police have extended a lifeline – but he has to work cold cases. Making matters worse the murderer and serial rapist, Svein Finne, who Hole put behind bars, has been released after a decade. Hole is convinced Finne is unreformed and wants to prove it. But after yet another epic night’s drinking, he wakes up in a bloodied state – and that’s the start of his latest nightmare. The tenacious protagonist from The Snowman and The Thirst is once again brought to the page by Number One bestselling author Jo Nesbo. This time he faces a deadly foe and he’d better watch his back ...
THE WEIGHT OF SKIN ALASTAIR BRUCE “You would not think it to look at you, but your voice, when you use it: is akin to a god’s. You must be careful what you do with it.” Exiled Jacob Kitara takes in injured compatriots and nurses them in a boardedup building. Social unrest has emptied the streets of London, movement into and out of the country has been suspended, and those who remain are in hiding. When a young man makes his appearance, insisting that he is Jacob’s son – a man presumed dead, torn from Jacob’s life by war and guilt over the fate of the boy’s mother – Jacob is driven to anger. But can this stranger offer Jacob a chance to reach back to a different continent, to the foot of Africa from where he has been banished, to atone for the past? The Weight of Skin is a poignant tale of personal and political responsibility, and of the intricate narratives of family and nationality that bind us.
MAIN: Kit at the ready – just waiting for the alarm to be sounded at NSRI’s Station 23 in Wilderness. IMAGE BY: Lucia Pinto.
ALL AT SEA
ounding seas, crashing waves, lashing gales and driving rain and spray are hardly ideal conditions in which to launch a boat – but that’s what the dedicated crews of the NSRI all over South Africa contend with. Saving lives, Changing lives, Creating futures. That’s the bold statement on the NSRI website, below the heading Our Vision. But their mission is not purely to rescue people in boats, as their lively Facebook page (www.facebook.com/SeaRescue/) reflects. In recent weeks they have assisted a yacht whose mooring had parted while the skipper was ashore in Mossel Bay – making the vessel head dangerously close to shore and the heavily populated bathing beach, aided drowning victims in Tinley Manor Beach, Ballito and a flooded quarry in Sir Lowry’s Pass, contributed to a medical evacuation from commercial oceangoing ships and successfully participated in more than one whale disentanglement. 62 w w w .t o p s a t s p a r. c o . z a
The roots of the NSRI lie in a terrible tragedy in 1966 which took place at Stilbaai, near Mossel Bay. Four small fishing boats were caught in a violent storm. Only one vessel returned and 17 fishermen drowned. Members of the community wrote letters to the newspapers, advocating for a rescue organisation such as the British Royal National Lifeboat Institution or RNLI. A few people volunteered their services, among them naval and merchant mariners, a 4.7m inflatable boat was donated by the Institute of Master Mariners and the fledgling organisation was formed. From those early beginnings in 1967, the National Sea Rescue Institute has grown to more than 1 200 volunteers in 41 stations throughout South Africa. Not all of them are at the coast: there are a few bases located at major dams inland (Mpumalanga, Gauteng and Free State) that perform an invaluable service. Statistics from 2018 reflect that the
organisation had 106 vessels, 30 rescue vehicles, 16 quad bikes and 13 tractors in operation. During 2018 1620 people and 51 animals were rescued in 1 138 rescue operations. But there were 4 482 training hours and 2 327 operational hours spent in service of the public by their teams of volunteers. These caring individuals spend hundreds of hours after work and on weekends in training. And then when on standby they carry radios, ready to drop whatever they’re doing at a moment’s notice to head to the base in order to set out on a rescue. And it’s not all about messing around in boats or splashing in the surf. There is an amazing amount of theory to be learned – much of it online, allowing volunteers to do it in their own time. A large chunk of NSRI time is devoted to preventing worst case scenarios. Members visit schools to talk about water
THE EXPRESSION “ALL AT SEA” MEANS BEING ADRIFT, LOST, PERPLEXED AND FILLED WITH BEWILDERMENT, THE DICTIONARY STATES. BUT THIS IS AN ENVIRONMENT IN WHICH THE NATIONAL SEA RESCUE INSTITUTE (NSRI) – STAFFED BY VOLUNTEERS – THRIVES, SAVING NUMEROUS LIVES IN THE PROCESS.
safety and drowning prevention as well as teaching bystander CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). One of their most successful initiatives, other than the dramatic rescues one associates their red and yellow boats with, is the pink safety buoys located at swimming spots intended as a primary first response to a distressed bather. These pink flotation devices can be found at 605 sites near water – and 56 successful rescues have been reported, all since first deployed in November 2017, so just over two years. As their website states: “In a typical scenario Sea Rescue gets an emergency call for a swimmer in difficulty and, when we get there, we find two or more people in danger of drowning. “Tragically, sometimes we are not able to get there in time and someone drowns. Usually the person who does not survive is the kind person who went into the water to try and help a person in difficulty. Because
this happens so frequently, Sea Rescue launched our Pink Rescue Buoy project in November 2017. “These bright Pink Rescue Buoys, which conform to the AUNZ standard of 100 Newtons of flotation, are hung on strategically placed signs and we hope that they will remind people to take care when entering water – and not to swim if lifeguards are not on duty. “If there is an incident and someone needs help, these buoys can be thrown to that person, providing emergency flotation. There are clear graphics on the sign which explain how to use the buoy. And most importantly, the emergency number for the closest Sea Rescue station is printed on the sign. If anyone decides, against advice, to enter the water the Pink Rescue Buoy provides flotation for that person as well as for the casualty.” But what about the rescues? Assisting a fishing vessel, drowning victim or kite boarder
One of their most successful initiatives, other than the dramatic rescues one associates their red and yellow boats with, is the pink safety buoys located at swimming spots intended as a primary first response to a distressed bather.
at trouble and in deep water requires special skills. It’s not just a matter of launching a boat and zooming out to sea. Hours and hours of training go into ensuring that the boat crew are well drilled and proficient in all aspects of seamanship such as boat handling, navigation, radio work, first aid and water safety. And it’s not just the active boat crews who put in the hours either. There are invariably patrol vehicles onshore, assisting with co-ordination and information because frequently there is more than one organisation involved in the rescue. There could be local lifeguards, port authorities, the South African police or even Air Force participating. Take this report of a capsized Hobie Cat in Durban harbour from a few weeks ago, for example: (Report by Paul Bevis, NSRI Durban duty coxswain.) “At 10h48, Saturday, 25th January, NSRI Durban duty crew dispatched the Sea Rescue craft Spirit of Surfski 6, accompanied by two Police Search and Rescue divers and a Metro Police Search and Rescue diver, following reports of a Hobie Cat capsized in Durban harbour near to the passenger terminal during a routine club Saturday regatta. “A Transnet National Ports Authority (TNPA) dive boat was nearby and they responded and rescued two local adult men from the upturned hull of their sail craft and a Point Yacht Club safety boat attended at the scene. “TNPA divers entered the water to commence righting the capsized sail craft using the TNPA dive boat and NSRI rescue swimmers and a Police Search and Rescue diver were deployed into the water to assist. “The TNPA dive boat towed the capsized craft to Central Bank and the sailboat was righted and our sea rescue craft took over the tow of the Hobie Cat from the TNPA dive boat and the sail craft was towed to Point Yacht Club and recovered. There were no injuries and no further assistance was required.” In addition to the NSRI response, there were the local Point Yacht Club, SA Police, Transnet Ports Authority and Durban Metro Police involved. Just imagine the co-ordination and communication required for things to work efficiently. But NSRI volunteer crews are trained in a range of skills: rescue swimmers are often called upon to 64 w w w .t o p s a t s p a r. c o . z a
assist in helicopter operations, again, co-ordinated with their own boats such as when they’re evacuating injured sailors from passing ships – as happened in January when five sailors, one critically injured, were removed to local hospitals. It’s not always life threatening though! According to a report posted by the station commander of the NSRI base at Mykonos near Langebaan on the Cape’s West Coast, they were sent out to sea to save a bird! Mike Shaw said in early January the crew of the rescue and salvage tug SA Amandla reported an injured petrel which had sought refuge on their vessel. The weak bird had landed on board on December 27 and by early January was still there, being cared for and fed by the crew. SANCCOB, the SA Foundation for the Conservation of Coastal Birds, made a request to the NSRI to play water taxi or salty Uber to the bird. “We rendezvoused with SA Amandla 12 nautical miles off-shore of Laaiplek and the bird was transferred onto our sea rescue craft and brought to shore and collected by SANCCOB,” Shaw wrote. “Believing the bird to be a petrel NSRI crew named the bird Diesel but SANCCOB have confirmed that in fact the bird is a Cory’s shearwater which are not often seen locally.” As the Audubon Field Guide to birds notes about this bird: “This species has a stronger flight action than most shearwaters, with slower wingbeats and prolonged glides, sometimes soaring high above waves. Nesting on islands in the Mediterranean Sea and eastern Atlantic, it regularly visits waters off the east coast of North America.” It was way off course and no doubt appreciated the assistance of the NSRI, the crew of the Amandla and the excellent care from SANCCOB! But it is just one more example of this organisation living out its mission statement. “We are a proud organisation. Proud of the service we deliver, proud of each other and proud to be South African. “We are accountable to the people who we serve, for the service that we deliver and to each other for support. “We value the safety of our crews and that of our patients above everything. And we don’t compromise in ensuring their well-being at sea.”
The NSRI relies on donations to cover the costs of the work they do. They have a range of Platinum Partners – Mitsubishi Motors, DHL, Absa, I&J, Italtile, De Beers Group, Oceana Group, Terrasan, ebmpapst and Samsa – but they still require funding. All donations, no matter how small, are gratefully received. If you’d like to know more, contact them at email@example.com , visit their website www.nsri.org.za and check out the funding page or call 021 434 4011. EMERGENCY NUMBER: dial 112 from any cell phone.
MAIN: Cutting through the chop in a wall of spray is a vessel from Plettenberg Bay’s NSRI Station 14. Its well trained crew are ready to respond to a variety of emergency situations; drownings, medical evacuations, search and rescue and even whale and turtle entanglements. IMAGE BY: Paula Leech.
GOGGLE BOX ENTERTAINMENT
“DO BOOMERS STILL DREAM IN BLACK-AND-WHITE?” IS A QUESTION JOSEPHINE BESTIC ASKED HERSELF. WATCHING TELEVISION IS ONE OF THE MOST COMMON FORMS OF ENTERTAINMENT ENJOYED WORLDWIDE. WHAT’S THE BACK STORY OR PREQUEL OF ITS EVOLUTION?
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enerationally speaking, television had been around for some 20 years by the time Baby Boomers made their appearance in 1946. Growing up in a time of post-war abundance, entitlement is the word for their era, and understandably there was soon pressure on the TV industry to convert to colour after mainstream Hollywood started producing films in colour in the 1950s. So, while flickering monochrome imagery arguably defines post-war small-screen home entertainment, it quickly segued into colour, notable at first for its washed-out appearance. Now, given the exponential advances in colour technology, who doesn’t appreciate the irony of adding a Nashville or Hefe filter to our Instagram posts when we want a retro vibe? No-one obviously. And especially not the most famous TV personality of all time, a Silent Gen’er born at the same time as the birth of television itself: Sir David Attenborough. At 92, he is the oldest (and unquestionably, the most knowledgeable) natural history presenter in the world, who, over nineplus decades has been exposed to virtually all the marvels of 20th Century invention – to the point where his phenomenally popular documentaries are leading the way in CGI (computergenerated imagery) and other hyperrealistic animation, to bring into our living rooms, or the palms of our hands, the prehistoric events that shaped our present planet. Speaking of the land before time, despite Scottish engineer and inventor John Logie Baird being widely understood to be the “father” of television, a number of inventors were actually tinkering with the same idea at the time. It wasn’t until 1927 though that the first electric television was invented – by Philo Taylor Farnsworth, a 21 year old who had lived in a house without electricity until he was 14! A farm boy, his inspiration for scanning an image as series of lines came from the back-andforth motion used to plough a field. Early television was possibly more entertaining than intended, as live recordings of those first shows meant bloopers were aired, and studio laughter was as authentic as the actors’ onscreen laugh attacks. One of the most-watched early black-and-white sitcoms from the ’50s,
A lot of the questions raised about television’s power and influence on events have applied throughout history to every mass-communications medium – most particularly print, because that’s the medium we’ve had the longest. – Walter Cronkite I Love Lucy, has entire blogs and YouTube channels devoted to the show’s boo-boos. From misremembering her stage son’s name in Lucy Gets Caught up in the Draft to production inconsistencies, such as the sound stage being visible as part of the set, those heady days of show tapings have created a delightful archive for anoraks to analyse for decades to come. In the ’60s Blue Peter was enormously popular in the UK, and in his 2013 memoir, Here’s One I Wrote Earlier, co-presenter Peter Purves regales his readers with
stories such as a baby elephant called Lulu using the stage as her bathroom – after her “training switch” was thought to look “cruel” and was removed. (Thankfully our sensibilities about trained animals performing have evolved significantly!) You can only imagine the pandemonium as the now undisciplinable Lulu moved around the set eliminating a waterfall of urine, devouring a plate of buns and then leaving an enormous pile of dung for one of the other presenters to stumble into. Another episode featured a performing collie dog MAR/APR 2020
which came on stage, only to knock over the children like skittles, instead of its hoop and cone props. From Top of the Pops to Saturday Night Live, aspiring beauty queens to world leaders and Oscar presenters, it takes unassailable self-confidence to perform in front of millions of viewers. But oh, how the world loves a mis-mimed song, the missed step of a dictatorial political head of state, the mispronunciation of an actor’s name or a geographically challenged Miss South Car’lahna mangling a map of Planet Earth. Gleeful memes are created and shared within seconds. World news networks are not immune either. Who can forget Professor Robert Kelly, the BBC analyst, reporting from his home office as his baby ubered into the room behind him in its baby-bouncer, before being frantically shooed out by the super embarrassed mom?
RGB (red, green, blue) technology brings us colour screens. According to HowStuffWorks, “when a colour TV needs to create a red dot, it fires the red beam at the red phosphor (coating, arranged in dots or stripes). Similarly for green and blue dots. To create a white dot, red, green and blue beams are fired simultaneously – the three colours mix together to create white. (In itself a revelation to a non-scientist such as myself.) To create a black dot, all three beams are turned off as they scan past the dot. All other colours on a TV screen are combinations of red, green and blue.” And that’s just one way of watching conventional television. Besides the hardware – from smart phone to tablet to monitor to super slim, lightweight Ultra HD smart TVs (when we were shopping for a new TV, the shop assistant brought out a 48-inch flat-screen between his thumb and forefinger) – a bewildering array of
networks now present a bouquet of entertainment options that could trigger epilepsy. Not every series embraces Sir David’s production values though – the unfathomably popular reality TV genre is just one example. As are those hilariously lip-sync’d telenovelas. They still remind me of my beloved Thunderbirds from the ’60s. Speaking of “bad lip reading” (borrowed from a brilliant YouTube account), South Africa had to wait a good 50 years before television was allowed in the country, and those of us who remember 1976 for more than the watershed Hector Pietersen tragedy, may also remember all the really good English and North American programmes simulcast in Afrikaans, and whose English soundtracks we had to tune into on the radio. To paraphrase Anthony Andrews in his incisive Guardian article on the history of television, “Not only has television re-envisioned our sense of the world, it remains, even in the age of the internet,
Television provides the opportunity for an ongoing story – the opportunity to meld the characters and the cast and a world, and to spend more time there. –David Lynch Facebook and YouTube, the most powerful generator of our collective memories, the most seductive and shocking mirror of society, and the most virulent incubator of social trends. It’s also stubbornly unavoidable.” Me, an old-school purist, I still listlessly channel-flip the tired offering of repeats and reality on my subscription channel. And my partner, a near-Luddite when it comes to all other tech, won’t give up its extraordinarily broad sports offering. Ok Boomer, hand me that remote.
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SOCIAL MEDIA & APPS |
SERVICE BITS AND BYTES, BOTH KILO AND MEGA, CAN BE SOMEWHAT DAUNTING TO THE AVERAGE TECHNOPHOBE. AND WHEN IT COMES TO STREAMING CONTENT – WHICH SO MANY HOUSEHOLDS ARE DOING NOWADAYS – IT’S IMPORTANT TO KNOW WHAT DOWNLOAD SPEEDS ARE REQUIRED.
here’s a silver lining to the jargon cloud and information overload which can blow the circuits of the mind… and it’s that the required download speeds for many of the Apps reviewed below are quite light. Much does depend on whether you are downloading the movie or television episode or series in standard definition, high definition or ultra high definition. (And the acronyms for those are SD, HD or UHD – while the download speed acronym are in megabits-per-second or Mbps.) Despite what many people think, you don’t need a massively fast connection to download high def content from things like Netflix. It recommends 5 Mbps which is pretty much the standard domestic package which households have. According to more than one internet tech site the minimum is 3 Mbps, while 5 is suitable for HD and if you have teenagers around whose gaming requirements are high, bump that by 10Mbps per teen! And don’t forget about data consumption; a standard HD movie download will generally require around 3.5 gigs of data – while the same movie in UHD could chew up to 15 GB of data…
Every year there are a rash of television and movie awards events. Increasingly, Netflix is walking off with little trophies and statues for its self developed content, challenging the dominance of the well established film studios. But Netflix is more than just movies. It offers award-winning series, films, documentaries, and comedy specials. It’s also possible to enjoy it on the move – either with the mobile app or on your tablet as you travel or commute. On the whole, the back library of Netflix content is huge so the chances of running out of things to watch is slim. But devoted users of this service appreciate new content – and this is where Netflix produces the goods: new TV programmes and movies are added all the time, so browsing for your new favourite is easy. You can stream the programme directly to your preferred device. In another bonus or positive feature, you can create up to five profiles on one account, so everyone can watch their own favourites and special interests on their personalised, individual account.
Local is lekker, so they say. And Showmax is the local on-demand video subscription service. People who sign up to use it have access to thousands of hours of good local and international series and movies. If binge watching is your thing, Showmax is the way to go! There is something for every member of the family from blockbusters to familiar series. It’s user friendly and can be watched on multiple devices, for entertainment on the move. (One way of keeping the kids quiet during the boring holiday road trip!) The app is updated regularly to accommodate the latest operating systems of your devices, so watching is seamless. With series episodes listed on the homepage, it’s easy to trackthose which have been watched, and how many are left.
Unusually for a company so renowned for its innovation when it comes to devices, Apple TV joining the video subscription service only happened in November 2019. But with Apple TV it’s possible to watch Apple originals, buy or rent new and popular movies (a catalogue that includes the largest number of 4K HDR titles), as well as subscribe to premium channels. This all-new streaming service features new content and exclusive shows from the most creative minds in TV and film. This app is ad-free and can be watched on or offline with no additional apps, accounts or passwords needed. Included is a dedicated Kids section that helps to find handpicked shows and movies for kids of all ages.
For existing Multichoice subscribers, the DSTV Now app forms part and parcel of the bundle – allowing customers to have near constant access to their favourite movies, news channels and shows. Probably the strongest appeal of this particular app is the access to its sports bouquet… South Africans DO love their sport so being able to livestream the soccer/cricket/rugby action is a huge plus! If you miss anything, you can catch-up later by watching a selection of the most popular shows, sport highlights and movies on Catch Up. It’s easy enough to download whilst in a Wifi area, to watch later offline. Another strong positive is that six different profiles can be set up to personalize the viewing experience of each family member. MAR/APR 2020
DRINKING STARTS LONG BEFORE IT BEGINS. YOU CAN STOP IT.
#MyFirstDrinkStory Adults usually enable our first exposure to alcohol, whether they be parents, aunts and uncles or older siblings. This enablement may be explicit or subtle. Many people don't even realise that they're doing it. Adults influence underage drinking through: • Conditioning (a drink is an answer to all occasions) • Passive permission (allowing child-sipping) • Doing nothing when you know it's wrong Research indicates that underage drinking may lead to an increased risk of alcohol dependency during adulthood. When was your first encounter with alcohol? Share your First Drink Story with us on Twitter and Facebook using the hashtag #MyFirstDrinkStory or leave a story on www.myfirstdrinkstory.co.za
in the next issue of
FROM THE LAND OF THE RISING SUN: Yamazaki, Nikka and Roku – spirits to appreciate JAPAN’S ANCIENT BI-RU BREWING TRADITIONS WHAT TO EXPECT FROM THE TOKYO OLYMPIC HOSTS
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to the previous issue’s winner of SHARE –
A CENTURY OF SOUTH AFRICAN COMMUNITY RECIPES
Derrick Peo from Port Elizabeth
LO O P D O P |
PAAS DIE NA WEEK
E PARTYKEER HET JY GOEIE PLANNE, MAAR DAN IEWERS TUSSEN OOS, WES EN TUIS BES WORD JY GEKWES. EK WAS HARD OP PAD OM MY MA-HULLE TE VERRAS MET ’N PAASNAWEEK-BESOEK VAN HUL EERSTEJAARSTUDENTEKIND TOE DIE WIND IEWERS SKEEF BEGIN WAAI HET.
Address: Tops at Spar Manaba 248 Marine Dr, Margate, 4276 Tel: 039 312 0800 Business Hours: TOPS at SPAR Mon-Fri: 07h00 - 19h00 Sat: 07h00 - 19h00 Sun: 08h00 - 14h00 TOPS Customer Care Tel: 086 031 3141
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erstejaar op Stellenbosch. Alles is moontlik. Mos. Soos daai Paasnaweek wat Philip sê hy soek ŉ medebestuurder op Bloemfontein toe. En ek dink, dan is ek mos net so 400 km van die huis af. Daai tyd kon jy nog ryloop. Ek sal gou by Ma-hulle wees. Lekker verrassing ... Deurnag tot in Bloem. Philip laai my op die kampus af waar hy sy sus kry. Toevallig loop ek in my groot skoolpêl Braam vas. Toevallig, ja. Hy het ŉ dilemma. Toevallig. Hy en sy kamermaat was op pad Margate toe vir die kort vakansie. Saam met twee aanvallige meisies. Daar bars sy kamermaat se blindederm. Toevallig.
sak, dan stort ons (afsonderlik, ja) en trek Oxford Bags aan, met Old Spice agter die ore. Sexy. Palm Grove toe. “Crimson and Clover, over and over ...” Die ding is, net soos elke liewe Paasnaweek was dié een ook net vier dae lank. Van Goeie Vrydag tot Paasmaandag. Vir ’n student kan jy nog so dag elke kant bygooi. Maar dan moet jy terug klas toe. Werklikheid toe. My kop is deurmekaar. Ek en Sanet moet al twee terug klas toe. Maar so 900 km uitmekaar uit. Verskillende universiteite. Verskillende provinsies (los nou maar die politiek). Werklikheid? Hoe ook al, so ry ons terug op ons se spore Bloemfontein toe. Daar
“Toevallig klim ek in die kar saam af Margate toe daar langs Natal se suidkus. Daar ontdek ek die Palm Grove, die naaste wat ek ooit self aan ’n nagklub gekom het.” “Sal jy nie instaan nie, asseblief?” smeek Braam. “Sanet is cool.” Ek wou nog teëstribbel tot ek vir Sanet sien. Cool verby. Toevallig klim ek in die kar saam af Margate toe daar langs Natal se suidkus. Daar ontdek ek die Palm Grove, die naaste wat ek ooit self aan ’n nagklub gekom het. Ek weet nie meer wat die band se naam was nie, maar hulle het “Radar love” van Golden Earring beter gespeel as die oorspronklike. “Been driving all night, my hands wet on the wheel…” Platinum Ring. En later gooi hulle “Crimson and Clover” van Tommy James and the Shondells. Ek en Sanet dans close. Palm Grove word dié plek. Margate word my heelal. Elke dag lê ons uitgestrek op Margate se strand. Ons praat ampergrootmensprate, maar eet nog roomys soos kinders. Maar o wee, as daai son
laai Braam my op die N1 af en bedank my innig dat ek hom uitgehelp het met sy dilemma. Ek probeer nog aan hom verduidelik hoe hy my kop opgesmokkel het en my plan opgefoeter het om by my ma-hulle uit te kom. Maar eintlik al wat ek onthou is hoe ek en Sanet onophoudelik aan mekaar beloof het dat ons mekaar weer sal sien. Sy het my dikke soene gegee. “Vir altyd en altyd, ja,” murmureer sy verby die soen. En ek sug van genoegdoening. Grootwordtyd. Ja, ek het vir Sanet nooit weer gesien nie. Maar daai selfde jaar se Julie-vakansie het ek my ma-hulle weer gesien. En weer. Ma is nou nie meer met ons nie, maar sy het nooit geweet daai verrassing was gekaap nie. Maar sy was altyd daar. Sy was altyd my ma.
TBWA\ Hunt \ Lascaris \ Durban\85003
A DRINKING AND DRIVING AFTERTASTE THAT WONâ€™T GO AWAY D R I N K R E S P O N S I B LY